UK Retail Sales Fell for Second Straight Month in December

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By Xavier Fontdegloria

 

Retail sales in the U.K. fell again in December, adding to evidence of weakening consumer spending at year-end.

Retail sales volumes fell 1% in December on month after dropping by a revised 0.5% in November, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Friday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected sales to increase 0.3% on month.

Nonfood sales volumes decreased 2.1% in December despite the Christmas shopping, with retailers reporting that consumers are cutting back on spending because of increased prices and affordability concerns, the ONS said. Food store sales volumes fell by 0.3%, it said.

Retail sales volumes dropped 3% in overall 2022 compared with a year earlier, the data showed. U.K. retail sales aren’t expected to improve significantly in the months ahead given the current squeeze in households’ incomes due to high inflation and rising interest rates, economists say.

 

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

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