Retail sales in UK declined 0.3% on a like-for-like basis for the month of December 2012 as traders battled sluggish demand and difficult economic climate, said the data published by the British Retail Consortium.

The BRC‘s monthly retail-sales monitor reported total sales growth of 1.5% when compared to December 2011.

According to BRC director general Helen Dickinson the figures exemplify the current tough economic conditions and were neither disastrous nor reason for cheer.

"Total growth for December hasn’t beaten inflation and is only on a par with December 2010, when severe weather put sales volumes on ice for much of the month.

"After a sluggish start, the final few days leading up to Christmas saw a last-minute sales boost, as many made the most of a full shopping weekend which the calendar didn’t offer in the previous year," added Dickinson.

Looking ahead to 2013, Dickinson advised caution as the economic turmoil continues.

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale remarked that January will be a difficult month for consumers waking up to the Christmas bills.

"While consumer confidence remains low, shoppers will tighten their belts and rein in their spending, making life difficult for the average UK retailer.

"There will be no boom and it’s likely more than a few will go bust," advised McCorquodale.