UK retail sales values were 4.2% higher on a like-for-like basis in December 2009 than the year before, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), but non-food non-store sales rose by over a quarter.
Non-food non-store sales were 26.5% higher than a year ago, compared with a 16.9% rise in November. "Some benefited from shoppers buying online when snow prevented them getting out," according to the BRC.
"This is the best total sales growth for a December since 2005 and goes well beyond just making up for the sales fall the sector suffered a year ago, says Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC. "The figures were certainly helped by the comparison with last December's terrible results but customers clearly felt more confident about spending than they have for some time.
"Christmas produced the strongest online sales growth of the year for non-food goods," added Sharon Hardiman, the BRC's head of non-store retailing. "The sharp increase in growth from November suggests customers are also more confident that online Christmas shopping can be left into December. For some, severe weather made shopping online more attractive than going out and starting online clearance sales early, even as the shops shut on Christmas Eve, got a good response from many customers."