BRC predicts 'fierce competition' in the run up to Christmas
The British Retail Consortium has predicted fierce competition for consumer's cash in the run-up to Christmas following the publishing of their latest statistics.
Figures published by the consortium showed signs of shoppers soon returning to the high street, with grounds for optimism in the run up to the Christmas period. However, they have also suggested this Christmas to be 'particularly crucial' over any other in nabbing consumer sales.
Although analysts were set for expecting little growth in sales, last month's rise of 0.6 per cent gave grounds for optimism.
However, it was accompanied by a downgrade of August's sales by 0.4 per cent against the previous estimate of 0.2 per cent. This means that sales for the third quarter as a whole were down 0.2 per cent.
British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said the run-up to Christmas would be even more critical this year than normal for shop owners - many of whom rely on the festive trading period to generate the lion's share of their annual revenues.
He said: "Even the slightest growth is good to see in these tricky times, but the combination of high inflation and last year's VAT rise means there is little real growth here to cheer the retail sector.
Mr "Once again the weather has been shown to have a major impact on shoppers' habits. Consumers snubbed new winter clothing and footwear lines as September ended with an exceptional burst of summer.
"Christmas has always been the most important time for retail, but this year is going to be particularly critical as businesses look to make up lost ground. Customers can expect to benefit from extremely fierce competition for their spending."