(Bloomberg) -- Swiss retail sales fell in December from a year earlier as winter gloom and inflation concerns weighed on consumers.

The 2.8% drop — following contractions in October and November — was the first such decline in that month since 2016, suggesting weak household spending at a time of year that typically is among the best for retailers.

The decline was mainly driven by lower sales of food, drinks and tobacco, but the non-food sector also recorded a drop, the Federal Statistics Office said Tuesday. 

Shoppers in Switzerland were certainly faced with a less enticing experience after fears of energy shortages linked to the war in Ukraine triggered cutbacks to traditional seasonal lights in cities, shops and at Christmas markets. Marcel Stoffel, who heads the Swiss Council of Shopping Places, told Bloomberg in November that “catastrophic holiday sales” could be expected based on consumer sentiment.

--With assistance from Kristian Siedenburg.

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