Did rising prices trim UK's retail sales in December

United Kingdom retail sales volumes fell sharply in December with a decline of 1.9% for December, which dragged the annual increase down to 4.3% from 5.9% previously as the November increase was revised to show a 0.1% decline from the original 0.2% gain.

He said: "UK retail sales volumes were awful in December. much worse than expected".

Highlighting the risks of rising prices, Alan Clarke, an economist at Scotiabank, said that inflation figures earlier this week showed that prices rose more than expected in December, "and now we also know that sales volumes fell".

The pound slid after the data arrived to $1.23 as the ten-year average growth in consumer sales was reported at only 0.5 percent in Q416 compared to 0.6 percent in the previous quarter.

"This is likely to be the theme for the rest of the year - higher prices will reduce disposable income and hurt consumer spending growth", he said.

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'It doesn't really matter to a retailer whether they generate revenue in November or December, ' he said.

On an annual basis, however, the overall rate of retail sales growth increased 4.3 per cent, but that still marked a slowdown from November.

The 1.9% month-on-month fall is actually the worst since April 2012, with some major declines in sectors such as household goods, where sales were down by 7.3%.

Average store prices increased by 0.9% on the year, as higher import costs - due to a weaker post-Brexit pound - were passed onto consumers.

In a busy week for United Kingdom data, annual inflation has jumped to 1.6 percent - the highest level in two and a half years - while unemployment sits at 4.8 percent, a low since 2006.

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond said that United Kingdom consumers are already feeling the effect of the lower pound.

"The sharp decline in retail sales in December is the first sign that rising inflation and slowing job gains are forcing shoppers to curb their consumption", said Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics. However, this is lower than 2 percent last month, with the annual growth rate falling to 4.3 percent year-on-year from 5.7 percent year-on-year previously, the most subdued since September.

'British people are beginning to see the effect of (depreciation) through increased inflation - we're already seeing that and we'll see some more of that during the course of this year'.

Some economists pointed out, however, that the weakness in December sales could be at least partially due to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events in November, with people taking advantage of the deals to do their Christmas shopping early.

December was a strong month for United Kingdom retail sales thanks to the timing of Christmas, but clothing and footwear saw a decline weighed down by increasing store prices.

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