LONDON (Reuters) – British retail sales growth fell sharply in the first half of December as concerns about the Omicron variant of coronavirus kept shoppers away, a monthly survey showed on Tuesday.
The Confederation of British Industry’s retail sales volume gauge slumped to +8 in December from +39 in November, its lowest reading since retailers were last in lockdown in March.
“Our December survey confirms what we’ve been hearing anecdotally about Omicron’s chilling impact on activity on the high street, with retail sales growth slowing and expectations for the coming month sharply downgraded,” CBI economist Ben Jones said.
The survey was based on responses from 41 retail chains between Nov. 24 and Dec. 14.
(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)