London retailers bounced back from the worst retail performance in two years in November, but growth slowed in December, according to the London Retail Consortium (LRC).
December like-for-like sales in London were 7.1 per cent higher than last year – below the average 8 per cent growth for the UK. The figures are down from a 9.8 per cent year-on-year increase in December 2006. The capital outperformed the rest of the UK, which recorded 0.3 per cent like-for-like growth.
In the three months to December, like-for-likes were up 6.3 per cent year on year.
Clothing and footwear sales suffered, while designer fashions and accessories outperformed, as did premium beauty. Homewares slowed further, following the slump in the housing market.
The main spenders in the capital’s shops were Western and Eastern Europeans. American and Japanese visitors were put off by the weak US dollar and yen.
LRC director Kevin Hawkins said: “While London’s retailers bounced back at Christmas from November’s worst performance in two years and significantly outperformed retailers in the rest of the UK, weaker growth than December 2006 shows they were also hit by the severe pressure on customers’ personal finances.
“London retailers discounted early and deep, to tempt hard-pressed customers in – great for bargain hunters, but an indication of a very tough start to 2008 for those retailers being squeezed between rapidly rising costs and falling shop prices.”