Grim retail sales suggest possible recession for Britain

Shoppers stroll previous outlets on Regent Street on the ultimate weekday earlier than Christmas in London on December 22, 2023. Britain’s financial system unexpectedly shrank within the third quarter and flatlined within the earlier three months, official knowledge confirmed Friday, elevating fears of a recession earlier than an election due subsequent 12 months. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP) (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP through Getty Images)

Henry Nicholls | Afp | Getty Images

U.Ok. retail sales dropped considerably greater than anticipated in December, in an indication that the financial system might have entered a shallow recession within the second half of 2023.

The Office for National Statistics said sales volumes fell by 3.2% throughout the important thing buying and selling month, after a 1.4% rise in November. Economists polled by Reuters had anticipated a fall of simply 0.5%.

December marked the biggest month-to-month decline since January 2021, when strict pandemic lockdown measures dampened demand. The ONS mentioned individuals appeared to have finished their Christmas purchasing sooner than in earlier years.

Volumes had been 0.9% decrease within the three months to December 2023, in contrast with the earlier quarter.

It comes after U.Ok. gross home product for the third quarter was revised down to a 0.1% contraction, from a previous studying of no progress.

“Today’s launch would subtract round 0.15 proportion factors from actual GDP progress in December, which will increase the possibilities the financial system might have ended 2023 within the mildest of delicate recessions,” mentioned Alex Kerr, assistant economist at Capital Economics.

Trade physique British Retail Consortium mentioned that the figures “capped a tough 12 months for retailers” and confirmed Black Friday sales ate into Christmas spending.

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