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With consumer confidence starting to waver, MINTEL predicts that compared to last year, Christmas 2006 could well be a real struggle for many of Britain’s retailers. Indeed, MINTEL’s research suggests that this December, retail sales will be up by no more than 1% compared to December 2005. Last year, Christmas retail sales hit an all time high and although we are likely to see a similar level of spending this year, such marginal growth could be cause for concern for many retailers. “With evidence pointing to a more cautious consumer, especially after the second interest rate rise earlier this month, there is every possibility that consumers will start to reign in their spending even before Christmas. In addition, what growth there is on December 2005 retail sales is likely to be shared mainly amongst the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S, who are all doing very well right now, leaving little advantage for the others to enjoy,” comments Richard Perks, Director of Retail Research at MINTEL.