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Britain's retail sector to face tough year in 2012

(Xinhua)

13:49, December 29, 2011

LONDON, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Britain's retail sector is to face a tough year in 2012 as consumers continue to cut back on their expenses, a report showed on Wednesday.

According to a report by Verdict Research, a leading retail research body, consumer spending will grow by 1.2 percent in 2012, the third slowest rate in 40 years.

Food sales are expected to rise strongly, as more consumers will cut back on going out, said the report.

"The first three months of 2012 will be the most difficult period for retailers as consumers cut back severely after the expensive Christmas period," said Maureen Hinton of Verdict.

"Conditions will ease slightly with events such as Easter, the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics improving consumer sentiment, but overall confidence will still be low," Hinton said.

According to Begbies Traynor's Red Flag survey, the sector most at risk in 2012 include retail, travel, leisure, property and construction and manufacturing.

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