Norway’s state statistics bureau SSB has confirmed that holiday sales were much weaker than analysts had expected. SSB’s figures follow sales reports from various shopping centers and retail organizations that had shown weak growth earlier as well.
SSB reported that retail volume was only 0.1 percent higher in December than in November, while revenues of retailers that SSB tracks in December were up only 1.8 percent over December 2012.
SSB called the retail activity “relatively flat,” while Eric Bruce, senior analyst at Nordea Markets, said the weak sales figures “surprised us all.” He said that lower growth was expected, following a shopping slowdown throughout 2013. “But none of the prognosis-makers expected that consumers would step on the brakes so strongly and so quickly,” Bruce told news bureau SSB.