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Christmas always a critical time for retail
21
Oct '11
Official retail figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) demonstrate how crucial a successful Christmas period will be for retailers this year. The latest numbers, which echo the British Retail Consortium's (BRC's) own statistics, show some growth in sales values, although being driven by inflation rather than increased business.

The unseasonably warm start to autumn resulted in particularly poor sales of winter clothing and footwear. Overall, 2011 has seen virtually no growth across the sector as a whole, with retailers of big-ticket items facing particular challenges. Christmas, always a critical time for retail, is set to be more important than ever.

British Retail Consortium Director General, Stephen Robertson, said: "Even the slightest growth is good to see in these tricky times but the combination of high inflation and last year's VAT rise means there is little real growth here to cheer the retail sector. Once again the weather has been shown to have a major impact on shoppers' habits. Consumers snubbed new winter clothing and footwear lines as September ended with an exceptional burst of summer.

"Christmas has always been the most important time for retail but this year is going to be particularly critical as businesses look to make up lost ground. Customers can expect to benefit from extremely fierce competition for their spending."

British Retail Consortium

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