Image: © Cristiano Betta via Flickr

British shops sold less Christmas stuff than they have for ten years

Shops didn’t sell as much stuff as normal, leading to their lowest sales figures since the financial crisis kicked off in 2008.

What it means: If, like us, your December credit card statement has reduced your January plans to ‘stay in and live off cold beans’ you might find it hard to believe that big retailers are grumbling about how little Brits spent on Christmas this year. But apparently we all splashed out 0.7 percent less than we did for Xmas ‘07. That might not sound like loads, but it adds up to a difference of millions of pounds.

Retailers say that they’re also making less profit because business rates have gone up and because they’re having to invest money into trying to avoid the worst consequences of a no-deal Brexit. They’re worried about whether they’re going to keep making enough money to operate: John Lewis has already said it might pull its staff bonus for 2019.

But why are Brits spending less in shops? Could it be that people have just got fed up with buying stuff? Maybe: criticisms of things like ‘fast fashion’ (buying a lot of cheap, short-lasting clothes) has been in the news a lot lately, and concern for the environmental impact of buying lots of stuff is growing.

But the British Retail Consortium thinks it’s more likely to be “economic uncertainty”, aka that people are worried that they’re about to be hit with a lot of unexpected costs and need to save their cash for that. Tbf, you can’t really blame them: Brexit is looming despite no deal being sorted out. Even the pro-Brexit government thinks that’s going to make us all poorer.

Read our explainer on why we buy stuff.

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Reader Comments

  • WhereAreTheVikings

    What a terrible, terrible shame. Western Civilization nurtured capitalism, and now capitalism is destroying it. And these young people seem to welcome the invasion of their homeland. The media and schools have been very efficient in wiping out all traces of blood and soil.

    • prollawalllynotahumanoid

      Capitalism isn’t the problem. It’s corrupt politicians taking bribes and kickbacks from Globalists and the Chinese.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        Maybe I should have said crony capitalism. Although Italians importing Chinese to make “Italian leather” shoes is not crony capitalism. It is capitalism, pure and simple.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          That would be crony capitalism and globalism combined. They aren’t concerned with the affect their policies have upon their citizens, the health and welfare of their society and culture or their economy. What it isn’t is fair-free trade to further national interests.

          • WhereAreTheVikings

            I’ve always seen them as one and the same, but perhaps they need to be named individually, just to bring home the point.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        But now that travel is so easy and borders are virtually down through H1bs and the like, theoretically you can’t blame capitalists for the pursuit of cheaper labor, although I do heartily blame them not being more patriotic than that. Perhaps the emerging nationalism will force them to voluntarily do what they should have morally been doing all along, and that is employing business practices that preserve their countries and nationalities. The government should be doing everything it can to encourage that, to the extent that small government should do anything but guard the borders and strictly, drastically, limit immigration.

      • Henry Lam

        It is China with its corrupted mindset affecting the world.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          No it is not. Capitalism is the fairest and least corrupt system of all.

          Socialism and communism is based on authoritarianism, coercion and police intimidation. It has and always will be rife with criminality, bribes and kickbacks.

          Corruption can be anywhere but it is the very basis of socialism and communism.

    • Henry Lam

      The government is too weak. They do not understand the mindset of communists and how they educate their people. Those communist people are only loyal to their country and could be dangerous. The immigration law should only accept those who accepted multiculturalism and taught from a democratic education system. This virus events clearly has shown how stupid to take China as a friend.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        The government is not too weak. Just weak-minded about some things.

  • Gabi Rodrigues

    For how many days can a country maximum close their borders to foreigners maximum? Like now, with the virus, everyone is using 30 days. Can it be more?