15 January 2018 - Janet Bird
While business was booming for supermarkets this Christmas, the picture was altogether more gloomy for non food retailers.
Like for like UK retail sales growth slowed to 0.6 percent in the five weeks ending December 30, 0.4 percent less than in 2016.
The latest monthly Retail Sales Monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG showed that total sales rose just 1.4 percent last month, compared to 1.7 percent in December 2016.
In the three months ending December 30, sales of non food items in stores fell 3.7 percent on a total basis and 4.4 percent on a like for like basis - the like for like measurement seeks to exclude any factors that were not in effect during both comparison periods.
The BRC said the divergence between food and non-food retail had never been so stark and suggested that, with inflation now outpacing wage growth, consumers' spending power was increasingly being absorbed by essentials such as food, leaving little left over to spend on non-food items.