UK retail sales show signs of weakness
UK retail sales grew more weakly than retailers expected in December and the outlook for January sales figures is not strong, according to a survey by the business lobby group, the CBI.
There was a sharp rise in the balance of retailers reporting better sales than in November, but that was below levels expected by economists.
Hopes for sales next month are at their lowest since May 2012.
The CBI said 2015 was a tough year for retailers.
Barry Williams, the CBI's distributive trades chairman, said retailers were expecting 2016 to start in "much the same vein".
The survey showed the weakest expectations for business among retailers since May 2012.
The survey of 118 firms showed the volume of retail sales picked up in December, and was slightly above the average for the time of year, but was still below retailers' expectations. Growth in retail sales volumes is expected to slow somewhat next month.
Following Black Friday on 28 November, internet sales volumes rose at their quickest pace since April, with the pace of growth expected to hold broadly steady in January.
Among the sectors, food outlets reported good sales, as did clothing shops, but footwear and leather sales growth fell.