A boom in tablet computer sales sparked by the launch of Apple's iPad mini failed to save retailers from stagnant sales in November, official figures showed today.
Retail-sales volumes, including petrol, failed to budge at all last month, well short of expectations for 0.4 per cent growth over the month and adding to worries over a difficult Christmas on the High Street.
Although the launch of Apple’s latest must-have pushed up household goods sales by a stunning 3.8 per cent over the month, department stores, clothing and footwear, and other shops such as sportswear and jewellers registered a decline.
The figures come a day after the CBI’s own distributive trades survey revealed business is worse than usual for the time of year, with price-slashing widespread among major retailers. In the longer term there was little more cheer as sales in the last three months are also flat compared to the previous quarter — the weakest performance since September last year.
Economists said the disappointing figures increased the risks of the economy slipping back into an unprecedented “triple-dip” in the current quarter.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at financial data provider Markit, said: “Sales could even fall over the fourth quarter as a whole according to the indications available so far.
“With production and trade data also turning down towards the end of the year, it’s looking very unlikely that the consumer is going to save the economy from sliding back into another contraction.”Reuse content