The British Retail Consortium (BRC) recorded the worst ever year on record in 2019, with sales contracting for the first time in 24 years as the UK economy faces the weakest growth outside a recession since the second world war, reported The Guardian.
The BRC said retail sales in 2019 slipped by 0.1%.
Taking November and December into account, retail sales fell 0.9% Y/Y, partly offset by a 2.6% rise in online sales for the same period.
"2019 was the worst year on record and the first year to show an overall decline in retail sales," said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson.
Dickinson said the slump in retail is due to some of the weakest growth in the overall economy since the second world war, as political turmoil and Brexit uncertainty has led to a slowdown.
She said: "Twice the UK faced the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, as well as political instability that concluded in a December general election, further weakening demand for the festive period."
She also said retailers are facing consumer shifts to online and a pullback in spending as the economy is expected to stagnate in 2020.
She noted that the trend towards a renting society and a weak housing market has led to consumers owning less "stuff."