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Gloomy Christmas for British Retailers

U.K. consumer spending fell over the holiday period

After a dismal Christmas trading report by department store Debenhams Plc last week -- and ahead of updates from retail stalwarts including Marks & Spencer Group Plc and Tesco Plc -- credit-card company Visa Inc. provided a gloomy consumer snapshot for the period. The report showed spending fell an annual 1 percent in December, a seventh decline in eight months. The drop, reflecting an inflation squeeze that ate into disposable incomes, rounds off the worst year for U.K. spending since 2012.

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