Poor figures from John Lewis, and a slowdown at Tesco and Sainsbury’s has raised fresh concerns that the uncertain political climate is taking its toll on consumer confidence this Christmas. December is the most lucrative time of the year for the retail sector but John Lewis said sales in its department stores fell by more than 5% last week. The picture from its fashion and homewares divisions was even weaker, with sales in both down by about 7%. Last week Primark warned of “challenging” trading conditions as fewer shoppers visited its stores. That pattern was borne out by figures from the retail research group Springboard which showed the number of shopper visiting the high street fell by 3.2% last month. Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said the “political shenanigans would not cancel Christmas” but cautioned that profits at the large listed grocery chains could be hit if the subdued consumer activity persisted. “We have a worried nation … resulting in low consumer confidence and cautious spending pattern,” he said. Although Britons are stocking up for the big day, spending nearly £300m on boxes of chocolates and £18m on brussels sprouts, the latest data from analysts at Kantar Worldpanel… Read full this story
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