Retail sales more positive

Figures from the BRC-KPMG show that retail sales in central London in December were 12.0% higher on a like-for-like basis than a year ago, when sales had fallen 0.7%. This was the best December since the survey began in 2002.

Food sales held up well. Clothing and footwear were driven by wintry weather as well as gift buying. Beauty products and jewellery were popular. Homewares showed gains for many but against a very weak December 2008. Big-ticket items such large electricals and furniture did well in clearance sales.

Likewise, the SRC-KPMG Scottish retail sales monitor showed that like-for-like sales in Scotland in December were 1.4% higher than in December 2008, when they had risen 0.8%. Total sales in December were 4.3% up on a year ago.

Food sales growth benefited from Christmas purchasing. Very cold snowy weather gave a good uplift to clothing and footwear after several months of declines. Homewares, furniture and beauty products all improved, helped by Christmas and clearance sales.