UK Christmas retail sales to rise 1.9 pct - study
LONDON Nov 3 (Reuters) - British retail sales will rise 1.9 percent over Christmas, bouncing back from last year's decline, but below the increases of the previous nine years, according to research published on Tuesday.
The Centre for Retail Research forecast retail sales would rise 832 million pounds ($1.7 billion) to 44.7 billion in the last six weeks of 2009.
That compares with a 27-million-pound decline in the same period of 2008 and the average rise of 1.1 billion over the preceding nine years.
The research, commissioned by shopping comparison Web site Kelkoo, predicted the rise in sales could result in up to 4,500 new jobs by January.
Much of the growth would be driven by online retail sales, which are forecast to rise 24 percent to 8.9 billion pounds and account for 20 pence in every one pound of spending.
"The peak weeks of Christmas trading are vitally important to retailers as many earn up to 60 percent of their profits during this period," said Bruce Fair, managing director of Kelkoo UK.
Retail sales have held up better than many analysts had feared in the recession, though signs of recovery remain patchy.
An industry survey last week showed sales volumes grew at their fastest pace in almost two years in October. But official data for September showed sales failed to grow for a second month running. [ID:nLR425272] [ID:nLM512181]
A survey published on Monday by brokers Execution showed consumers plan to spend less on Christmas gifts this year. [ID:nL1156682] ($1=.6110 Pound) (Reporting by Mark Potter; editing by Simon Jessop)
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