In a report, the Confederation of British Industry said the result of its index of U.K. retailers fell to 19.0 in December from a reading of 33.0 in October.
Analysts had expected the index to decline to 25.0 in December.
On the index, a reading above 0.0 indicates higher sales volume, below indicates lower.
Following the release of that data, the pound held on to gains against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD adding 0.27% to trade at 1.6297.
Meanwhile, European stock markets were broadly higher. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.6%, the EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.6%, France's CAC 40 advanced 0.5%, while Germany's DAX tacked on 0.3%.
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