Cold snap hits December retail sales

British retail sales saw no year-on-year growth in December for the first since 1991, with snow being cited as a major factor, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Indeed between November to December the total sales volume fell 0.8% after one of the coldest winters on record, with last month being the coldest December in 100 years according to the Met Office.

While sales of winter clothes rose, falls in food sales and petrol were blamed for the stagnant growth.

Jeremy Cook, the chief economist at World First, says: “Ever since the first snowflake descended on the UK we knew that the impact on the retail sector was likely to be significant. (article continues below)

“The 0.8% fall makes it the worst December figure on record at a time when the High Street was so in need of a strong Christmas. Given that consumer spending is such a huge part of UK GDP sets us up for a poor fourth quarter.

“Sterling is losing ground against all currencies following the announcement.”