BRC figures show retailers have had worst Christmas for growth for three years.
Christmas 2007 was the worst for retailers since 2004, according to the latest report from the British Retail Consortium-KPMG retail sales monitor.
It found that retail sales rose 0.3% in contrast to a 2.5% rise of 2.5 in 2006, and 2.6% rise in 2005.
Last month's rise was also the weakest of any month since March 2006, and, the consortium said, the three-month trend rate of growth was also down to just 0.8%.
The the British Retail Consortium added that even though Christmas 2007 sales will be higher than last year's, it will be driven by discounting that brought out shoppers in the final 10 days.
Retailers without a 'distinctive offer' or those`less able to afford' discounts have 'struggled,' it said.
"With customers' finances under more pressure than 12 months ago, retailers will have done well to beat last December's 2.5% year-on-year growth, " BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said in a statement.
"There will be sharp differences between retail's winners and losers,'' he said.