November retail sales edge up thanks to Black Friday

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Black Friday propped up retail sales last month as electrical appliance sales made the largest contribution to growth.

According to the latest monthly figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), retail sales volumes in November grew 1.1 per cent when compared to October, and 1.6 per cent compared to a year earlier.

Sales values also rose throughout November, rising 1.4 per cent month-on-month and 4.7 per cent compared to 2016.

Although household goods stores showed the strongest growth, rising 2.9 per cent, food stores had the largest price increases rising 3.6 per cent.

This compares to total average store prices of 3.1 per cent, the highest level in six years.

“Underlying retail sales growth remained reasonably strong in the last few months. Household goods stores had a good November, with a number of businesses saying that Black Friday promotions boosted sales,” ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy said.

Close Brothers Retail Finance managing director Alex Marsh added: “The final run up to Christmas may prove more difficult than usual for retailers as they battle low consumer confidence amid increasing inflation and a squeeze on wages.

“Retailers need to prepare for the squeeze on consumer spending and consider offering consumers alternative flexible payment options to help spread the cost of big ticket Christmas items.”

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