Worst Christmas sales in the U.K. since 2008

Total retail sales in the UK declined by 5.3% in December, according to the latest results from the BDO High Street Sales Tracker.

It’s the worst figure on record since December 2008, and disappointing for retailers who had hoped for a last-minute uptick in spending. Many fashion retailers blamed the mild weather for the low sales figures. BDO also found that online like-for-like sales were up just 7.5%, the lowest figure ever recorded.

According to BDO, many consumers held out until Christmas Day, when widespread discounting was launched, before spending their money. Retailers reported their best ever takings on this day.

The most disappointing performance of all sectors came from fashion retailers, who reported a 5.4% decline in like-for-like sales. This was off an already weak base in December 2014. All four weeks of the month were in negative territory, and many blamed the weather.

However, there may be better times to come. BDO says: “Early indications in January show a renewed vigour for spending by consumers, and retailers will be hoping this trend continues throughout the month.”

Selfridges Christmas sales