BRC warns the big freeze could hamper Christmas sales

Retail performance in the run up to Christmas balances on a knife edge as the big freeze continues to wreak havoc across much of the country.

The latest figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show retail sales up 0.7 per cent from November 2009, with internet, mail order and phone sales of non-food products up 17.6 per cent on a year ago.

But the BRC warns that Christmas retail performance is "delicately poised" as consumers continue to watch their pennies following the Government’s comprehensive spending review in October. The cold weather has put an added strain on retailers.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said:  "Overall, the extreme weather has dramatically undermined sales over the last ten days.

"Retailers will be hoping disruption eases so that sales lost early in the month are made up over the next couple of weeks and not lost entirely – booming internet sales along are unlikely to make up sales shortfalls."

Figures show the DIY and gardening sector has faired relatively well with sales of grit, salt and shovels rocketing under the snowy weather, but large scale projects have been affected by weak consumer confidence.

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