Retail sales inched up 0.6 per cent in November on a like for like basis as consumers gave early Christmas shopping a miss, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Although sales of footware and winter clothing picked up slightly at the end of the month, the total retail sales growth of 2.3 per cent y-o-y in November was slower than October’s 2.6 per cent.
Neil Saunders, Managing Director of Conlumino, said November was rather unusual this year.
“By the end of (the month) most Christmas categories were less advanced in terms of purchasing than they were in 2012; moreover, many more people had yet to begin their festive shopping than was the case last year,” he said. “Inevitably, this lack of traction has put a dint in the numbers, especially on the non-food side.”
The figures come before the Autumn statement this Thursday in which George Osborne is expected to review the business rates system. Sir Philip Green and Dalton Philips have thrown their weight behind a two-year rates freeze as high rates are said to be restricting investment.
Online sales represented 19.9 per cent of total non-food sales in November in a record slice of overall commerce.
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, commented: “Online sales will continue to soar in the run up to Christmas, reaching record heights in December, with transactions spiking on Mega Monday when the last day for guaranteed delivery before Christmas falls due.”