Retail sales fall unexpectedly in run-up to Christmas

Shoppers failed to deliver the usual boost to the high street over Christmas as the cost of living crisis impacted spending.  Sales fell 1pc in December from a month

earlier and were down 5.8pc on the same time a year earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The annual decline is the sharpest fall in sales since

records began in 1997. Today's December retail sales numbers had been expected to show a 0.5pc growth, according to a consensus from Pantheon Macroeconomics.  It

follows a decline of 0.5pc in November, which reversed some of the 0.9pc gain seen in October.  This came after a 1.5pc drop in September, when stores were closed for the

funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Retailers will be worried by consumer confidence figures for January, showing that people have a poor view of their personal finances and

prospects. GfK's monthly consumer confidence index fell to a near record low of minus 45, down three points on December.  Read the latest updates below. Sign up

to the Front Page newsletter for free: Your essential guide to the day's agenda from The Telegraph - direct to your inbox seven days a week. 07:42 AMReal test for retailers

'will come in 2023' Charlie Huggins, head of equities at Wealth Club said: The decline in retail sales volumes accelerated in December, with consumers starting to cut

back on spending because of increased prices and affordability concerns. Online sales were particularly weak as the absence of lockdown restrictions, and the Royal Mail

strikes encouraged more last minute shoppers into stores.