2010 will be a difficult year for retailers, but no worse than 2009, according to a survey of its members by the British Retail Consortium.

Four out of five retailers surveyed said they expected sales in 2010 to be the same, but none thought they would be worse and a fifth thought they would be better. 19 multiple retailers took part.

The retailers surveyed cited weak consumer demand, rising unemployment, increases in personal taxes and weakness in the economy as their biggest concerns for the year ahead. A third of them said they expect to reduce the number of people they employ in 2010 compared to 2009.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson (pictured) said it was vital the government didn’t hamper the recovery in consumer confidence by hiking personal taxation. “Politicians must recognise it’s business that’ll take us out of recession with retail leading the way. They must bring the public finances under control while avoiding excessive tax rises that would undermine demand, jobs and consumer confidence.”