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UK Christmas retail sales worse than expected

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Rise of only 0.3% comes as Covid triggers biggest annual decline on record

Retail sales in Britain staged only a weak recovery in December during the key Christmas shopping period to bring to an end the worst year for consumer spending on record, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics said the volume of British retail sales rose by 0.3% between November and December after the relaxation of the second national lockdown in England – far below economists’ forecasts for growth of 1.2% during the pivotal month for retailers.

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