The woes for UK retailers are mounting as a new report suggests that 2018 was their worst Christmas since the financial crisis.

Shops saw no growth in sales in December compared with a year earlier, the worst performance in a decade, and fell 0.7% on a like-for-like basis, according to industry figures. They came as investors awaited holiday updates on Thursday from supermarket chain Tesco, along with retailers Debenhams and Marks & Spencer. A separate report from Barclaycard showed consumer spending grew just 1.8% last month from a year earlier as Britons cut back on essentials and supermarket food. That’s the smallest increase since 2016 and a decline in real terms after adjusting for inflation.

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