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Christmas sales to slow across Europe

London A report released late Tuesday said that Christmas retail sales growth is expected to slow across Europe this holiday season. According to an Associated Press report, which cited research by Kelkoo, an anticipated rise in online purchases is predicted to be offset by declining sales at brick-and-mortar stores.

The Kelkoo report predicted that total sales will rise just 0.8% this year to U.S. $433 billion, compared with $428 billion in 2009, and $421 billion in 2008.

Dragging down the growth, according to the research, is a predicted fall in in-store sales to $388 billion, from $393 billion last year. Conversely, online sales are expected to rise by 25.1% to $44.3 billion.

"The retail outlook this Christmas is tepid, with trading conditions set to remain challenging in the months ahead," said Kelkoo CEO Richard Stables. "However, online spending is showing no signs of slowing down, and is mounting a real challenge to the dominance of the high street."

"Internet sales across Europe are set to be more important than ever this Christmas, with consumers spending record amounts online, and online commerce acting as the primary driving force for overall retail growth during the festive season," he added.