Christmas failed to deliver as high street sales drop

It was not a Merry Christmas for Britain's high streets as sales in December dropped by 2.2% for many retailers compared with a year before, according to figures from accountancy firm BDO.

Sales on the high street dropped this year but it was another boom Christmas for online retail. Credit: PA

It was a lacklustre month for many retailers, with like-for-like sales - excluding online trade - dropping by as much as 6.7% in the week to December 22.

Bad weather was partly to blame, with many shops, particularly fashion retailers, hit by the people staying home to avoid the wind and rain.

But the data showed another stellar Christmas for online sales, with non-store sales leaping 31.1%, rising to growth of 55.7% in the week before Christmas.

BDO explained: "Pent-up demand was expected to play a larger role as we moved closer to Christmas day but in reality it never fully took hold."