January 23 2016.

- Retail sales volumes in December 2015 were down 1.0% on the month, but were up 2.6% on the year

- Average store prices fell by 3.2% in December 2015 compared with December 2014

Commenting on the retail sales figures for December 2015, published today by the ONS, David Kern, BCC Chief Economist, said: “The fall in retail sales in December was disappointing, and although annual growth in sales at 2.6% is still reasonably healthy, it is still a marked slowdown compared with previous months.

“Since average store prices have now recorded 18 consecutive months of year-on-year declines, these figures reinforce our view that inflation will remain close to zero in the near-term.

“However, it is important not to exaggerate the gloom, as recent employment figures show that there are still areas of strength in our economy.”