Steady spending in 2012

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BIG discounts in Christmas shopping were harder to find this year, as high street chains fought to protect their margins, a report claims.

In Portsmouth, Cascades Shopping Centre saw a drop in footfall at the venue.

This is reflected nationally, according to business advisory firm BDO.

It said that combined with the ongoing caution of UK consumers, December sales trackers pointed to ‘steady but unspectacular’ trading.

The report, which studies like-for-like spending at non-grocery retailers with annual sales of between £5m and £500m, showed sales growth of 1.9 per cent on a year earlier, despite a drop of 3.7 per cent in the week to December 16.

BDO said tighter stock planning and better strategies for discounting meant firms were able to achieve an improvement in margins.