Data: Christmas sales uptick brings retail relief heading into uncertain 2022

John Lewis Oxford Street with shoppers wearing Covid masks carrying shopping bags

UK retail enjoyed a hugely successful Christmas sales period in December, giving the sector a much-needed boost heading into a new year still clouded by uncertainty.

For the five weeks covering November 28 to January 1, total retail sales increased 9.9% on a year-on-year basis and 6.6% compared with pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Food sales grew 3.1%, while non-food growth was 15.6% year on year, according to the BRC-KPMG sales monitor. 

On a total basis, sales increased by 2.1% in December, against a growth of 1.8% in December 2020 – above the three-month average growth of 2.8% and the 12-month average growth of 9.9%.

On a two-year basis total retail sales grew 4.8% in December 2021, compared with the same period in 2019. 

Online non-food sales decreased by 13.9% during December, compared with December 2020 when the UK was in lockdown for large parts of the month – this figure was below the three-month decline of 13.3%. Throughout 2021, online non-food sales increased by 14.3% compared with 2020.

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