It was one of the most miserable Christmases on record for retailers in Spain as sales plunged last month in the midst of one of the worst consumer crises the recession-hit country has ever seen.
With sales tax hikes biting, unemployment growing and many workers and pensioners watching the real values of their income fall, Spaniards kept their wallets tightly closed, helping to produce a 10.7% fall in sales in December compared with the same month in 2011.
The retail slump actually accelerated, rising from a fall of 7.8% for November and an annual rate for 2012 of 6.8%. Retail sales in Spain have now fallen for 30 successive months, and the decline has quickened since the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, implemented further austerity measures to bring the budget into line.
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