Director general Helen Dickinson said the signs were that trading in a largely no-growth environment would continue into 2013 for many retailers.
“Christmas hasn’t been a boom time but it hasn’t been complete doom and gloom either,” she said.
“There are big variations in individual retail performances but, when the final sums are done, total spending is likely to be up modestly on last year, though only broadly in line with shop inflation.
“Sales were hard-fought and often driven by discounts, so cutting into margins.”
She added that in the new year “utility prices are likely to edge up inflation and people are keen to continue paying down their debt, which means the amount of money they have in their pockets will remain under pressure”.
Dickinson added: “There’s every sign that the ongoing endurance test for retailers of trading in a largely non-growth environment is likely to continue well into next year.”