Retail sales in central London fell by just 0.7% in December according to new figures published today (19 January), as the strong euro and heavy discounting attracted more shoppers from the Eurozone.

Figures from the BRC-KPMG London Retail Sales Monitor showed the like-for-like decline in London is better than the 3.3% decline in the UK as whole.

Retail footfall in December was stronger than in the past few months and well up on a year ago, it said, but UK shoppers were still reluctant to spend despite early clearance sales.

Sales of clothing and footwear were described as "difficult," even with heavy discounting.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: "In the context of today's tough conditions, these are weak figures that could have been worse. This is London retail's poorest December since 2004 but beats the rest of the UK."

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, added: "The weaker pound, which is making the UK very attractive for overseas shoppers, has helped keep the capital's December sales performance above that of the UK as a whole.

"However, a fall for central London of 0.7% is nothing to shout about and does not bode well for 2009, given the economic outlook and London's position as a major financial centre."