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Christmas season to be as good as last year's, say retailers

Published: 13 December 2010
BRC's Christmas Trading Snapshot Survey reveals that almost two thirds of retail businesses expect sales over the Christmas period to be the same or better than last year.
Christmas season to be as good as last year's, say retailers
According to the survey, 35% of retailers believe sales this Christmas will be better than 2009, while 29% expect them to be the same. Not all firms are optimistic however, with 36% of businesses predicting a decline in retail sales this Christmas.

Stores are also running an exceptional number of promotions in the run up to Christmas, with 41% providing more than last year and 47% offering the same.

This may be due to concerns about VAT increase in January, with 82% predicting an adverse effect on sales at the start of 2011. This is despite the fact that 64% of retail businesses said that their sales stayed the same when the VAT rate was restored in January 2010.

They do however believe that the latest increase will cause consumers to bring forward purchases to beat the rate rise, with 71% expecting this outcome.

British Retail Consortium, director general Stephen Roberston said: "It's reassuring to see a majority of retailers believe Christmas sales will be at least as good as last year even if a third say they will be worse. But, considering inflation is now at 3.2%, growth of anything less than that would be a real-terms fall."

He added: "Promotions have hit a new level of intensity, retailers believe the next VAT rise is bringing sales forward and Christmas is usually a time when people spend despite their economic worries but ultimately December could prove to be the ninth month in a row of weak year-on-year growth."

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