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UK retail sales sink in December on Omicron fears

LONDON (AFP) – British retail sales slid in December as consumers shunned the high street due to concerns over the Omicron coronavirus variant, official data showed yesterday.

Total sales volumes dropped 3.7 percent last month compared to November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

Sales had risen by one per cent in November as some consumers snapped up early gifts for the festive season amid fears over supply-chain problems.

“After strong pre-Christmas trading in November, retail sales fell across the board in December with feedback from retailers suggesting Omicron impacted on footfall,” noted Heather Bovill, ONS deputy director for surveys and economic indicators.

“As (COVID) restrictions in England meant more people working from home, there was a notable fall for fuel sales,” she said, adding that one quarter of sales were now online.

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