An uncertain future for the UK High Street
Latest statistics issued by the ONS show a decline in consumer purchases of 0.2% in the three months to December 2018, across all main sectors except fuel.
Compared to November, when sales were bolstered by Black Friday discounting, the quantity of goods bought in December 2018 decreased by 0.9%, in all sectors except food stores and fuel stores.
This was not the merry Christmas that many retailers had been relying on to improve their overall fortunes as consumers reined in spending. The British Retail Consortium said the key Christmas shopping period had been the worst for retailers since the financial crisis a decade ago.
Over the whole of 2018 purchases did increase by a positive 2.7% however this represented an annual slowdown in comparison with the peak of 4.7% experienced in 2016 before the Brexit vote.