FXstreet.com (Barcelona) - Retail sales in the United Kingdom grew a at a sluggish 0.3% for the month of December of last year. Although this represents an improvement over November's contraction of 0.3%, the market had expected an increase in the range of 1.2% more in line with the 1.6% growth seen in December of 2008.

In year-over-year terms, retail sales only grew 2.1% in December, marking a 11-year low in sales growth for the holiday season. This is a drop from November's annual positive annual growth of 3.1% and far behind market forecasts of more robust annual growth in the range of 3.0%.

The poor sales numbers worsened the pound's decline versus the dollar. The GBP/USD was already trending downwards to below 1.6200 and dropped to 1.6585 after the publication of the retail sales figures.

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