Investing.com - UK retail sales fell short of expectations in December, adding to evidence that uncertainty over the country's departure from the European Union is hurting consumer sentiment.
Retail sales fell 0.9% in December, and were up only 3.0% from a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday.
Economists had forecast a 0.8% decline for the month and a 3.6% gain year-on-year.
The monthly increase in November was also revised down to 1.3% from an initial estimate of 1.4%, while the annual increase was revised down to 3.4% from an initial 3.6% advance.
“The three-month on three-month growth rate..shows that in recent months sales have slowed for both measures and flattened from September 2018 to December 2018,” ONS statistician Rhian Murphy said.
Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to consultancy EY's Item Club, said via Twitter that underlying sales growth was down 0.2% in the fourth quarter, and added that the December figure "Indicates many retailers aimed to boost sales by major discounting."
"Not good news for profit margins," Archer added.