Total sales volume decreased by 0.4% between November and December, with sales volume for predominantly non-food stores decreasing by 0.9%, according to the Office for National Statistics. Sales volume for non-specialised stores, including department stores, fell by 4.3%, the largest decrease for the sector since February 1994.
Total sales volume in the three months to December was 3.6 per cent higher than the same period a year ago – the slowest growth for more than a year.
Sales volumes for textile, clothing and footwear stores was 1% higher than the same period a year ago, the smallest growth for the sector since February 1999.
However, in the 12 weeks to Christmas, online sales soared to £15.2 billion, bringing the full-year UK figure to £46.6bn, up 54% on 2006, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
December's online sales were almost 50% up on the previous year, with four million people shopping on Christmas day and spending approximately £84 million. Clothing sales were up 28% in December.