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By
Reuters
Published
Dec 13, 2010
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Most retailers see Xmas as good as 2009

By
Reuters
Published
Dec 13, 2010

Dec 13 - A majority of retailers believe Christmas will be no worse than last year, despite the financial pressures of the last 12 months and the recent snow, a survey said on Monday.

The British Retail Consortium said its Christmas trading snapshot of 17 major retailers, representing up to 51 percent of the sector by turnover, showed almost two thirds expect sales to be the same or better than last Christmas.

It said 35 percent felt Christmas 2010 would be better than 2009, 29 percent felt it would be the same and 36 percent are braced for figures to be down.

The survey also found 71 percent of retailers think the January 4 rise in VAT sales tax to 20 percent means customers are bringing forward purchases, and more than eight out of 10 expect the VAT change to have a negative impact on sales in January.

"It's reassuring to see a majority of retailers believe Christmas sales will be at least as good as last year ... But considering inflation is now at 3.2 percent, growth of anything less than that would be a real-terms fall," BRC Director General Stephen Robertson said.

Aside from the severe weather, retailers are worried higher taxes and public spending cuts will hit consumer demand.

Last week electricals retailer Kesa (KESA.L), computer games group Game (GMG.L) and music, DVD, games and books retailer HMV (HMV.L) all reported disappointing updates.

However others have fared better; Tesco, Britain's No. 1 retailer, has forecast its best ever Christmas, while last month John Lewis, the UK's biggest department store retailer, raised its expectations for the festive period.


By James Davey
(Editing by David Holmes and Diane Craft)

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