Shares in Australian retailers are sliding after nasty official data for sales in December

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Shares in electronic and home wares retailers slipped on the release of data showing weak sales in December.

Both JB Hi-Fi, at $27.25, and Harvey Norman, at $4.82, were both down about 1%.

Myer also slipped but recovered. A short time ago, it was up 1.2% to $1.24.

Australian retail sales recorded a shock decline in December, according to the data released by the ABS.

In nominal terms, the ABS said sales fell by 0.1% to $A25.61 billion in seasonally adjusted terms over the month, missing expectations for an increase of 0.3%.

Fashion labels Marcs and David Lawrence last week went into voluntary administration, citing deteriorating sales, general market conditions and poor cash flow.

They are the latest in a string of players in the retail sector, under pressure from online trading and emerging competitors, going into administration, including Payless Shoes, Pumkin Patch, Howards Storage World and Dick Smith stores, which closed last year.

Some retailers have been reporting disappointing December and January sales.

Last month luxury retailer Oroton reported poor sales for Boxing Day and New Year. Like-for-like sales were down 10% compared to being up 10% at the same time last year.

Online retailers are doing better. reported a strong December and January, and foreshadowed improved profits for the full year.

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