UK retail sales see strong rise in November

Shoppers Image copyright AFP

UK retail sales rose by more than expected in November, as shops offered promotions at the end of the month in the run up to Black Friday.

Sales volumes increased by 1.7% in November from the month before, the Office for National Statistics said.

Compared with the same month last year, sales were up by 5%.

However, Keith Richardson from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said it was "too early" to say whether Black Friday was really a success for retailers.

"Retailers were better prepared this year and adapted the US-style Black Friday to better reflect British culture. Some chose not to take part while many others spread the discounts over several days to better protect margins and ease the burden on their websites and IT platforms."

The ONS said the amount spent by shoppers was up 1.4% in November compared with the month before, and was also up 1.4% from the same point a year earlier.

The value of online sales increased by 4.9% in November from October, and were 12.7% higher compared with last year.

"Retailers may see some pay-back after the Black Friday promotions led shoppers to pull-forward spending that would otherwise have taken place in December, but the underlying sales trend looks set to remain strong as we head into 2016," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

He added that spending was not just being driven by discounts. "Households are benefitting from improved job security, low inflation and falling energy prices, the latter helping free-up more income to boost retail sales."

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