Releasing its latest sales tracker, accountancy firm BDO said overall like-for-like sales among UK “mid-market” retailers were down 2.2 per cent year-on-year.
Last minute present hunting saw non-fashion sales pick up in the final week of December, offsetting a weak start to the month, the report noted.
Fashion sales were down 4.6 per cent overall with poor weather and savvy bargain hunters hitting the sector particularly hard.
Although pre-Christmas discounting saw sales pick up slightly at the end of the month this was described as “too little too late”.
Non-store sales, including online trading, were the “real stars of Christmas”, added BDO, with takings up 31.1 per cent on 2012.