The recession hurt is still lingering, and consumers are still cautious about spending, especially with the VAT bound to come back to its earlier high figure anytime soon, but it seems that Christmas for retailers will not be gloomy after all, as has been suggested by the pre-Christmas sales figures.
According to official figures shared by CBI, as many as 13% of companies reported that their sales volume for the month of November was higher this year as compared to the same time last year, while 19% retailers say that they are expecting sales to increase for Christmas this year.
"We are seeing consumer confidence starting to pick up. Unemployment has risen more slowly than in previous recessions, partly due to great flexibility of employment. Since January 2008, grocers have reported strong growth while the non-food sectors have not. This month we have seen some improvement in these sectors", said Chief Economic Adviser to CBI, Ian McCafferty.
In November, retailers of home improvement products such as furniture and durable home goods, reported a rise in sales for the second consecutive month on the back of stabilizing house prices. While the sale of clothing items fell, grocers and retailers of footwear and leather products recorded increased sale volumes.
Experts believe that the cut of VAT is one of the most prominent reasons for high sales; something that will go on throughout Christmas and till the tax comes back, a development which is currently scheduled for January 1.