Slow retail sales for November as shoppers held off for Black Friday

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Slow retail sales for November as shoppers held off on spending for Black Friday
"The figures for November are difficult to interpret as a late Black Friday means year-on-year comparisons are not straightforward," BDO head of retail Sophie Michael said.
// Store sales declined 1.9% in November from negative base of -2.6% according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker
// Black Friday fell a week later this year, distorting year-on-year figures
// If adjusted with Black Friday 2019, November results show in-store sales jumping 3%

High street retailers suffered a lacklustre November in the critical build-up to Christmas as shoppers held off on spending ahead of Black Friday, new figures show.

In-store sales declined by 1.9 per cent year-on-year in November from an already negative base of -2.6 per cent, according to the latest High Street Sales Tracker from BDO.

Figures across the month suggest that discounting has become increasingly important for driving consumer spending, with retailers experiencing a lacklustre month before a substantial increase in sales the week of Black Friday.


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Black Friday fell a week later this year, distorting year-on-year figures, but BDO said in-store like-for-like sales were down 17.14 per cent on the same week last year – one of the worst weekly results since the “Beast from the East” hit Britain in March 2018.

However, the week of Black Friday provided retailers with a much-needed boost, with in-store and non-store sales soaring by 24 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

“The figures for November are difficult to interpret as a late Black Friday means year-on-year comparisons are not straightforward,” BDO head of retail Sophie Michael said.

“If we adjust for the impact of Black Friday in 2019, the overall results for November were more respectable with in-store sales jumping by approximately three per cent and non-store sales climbing by around eight per cent year-on-year.

“What is abundantly clear, however, is just how important the promotional event and heavy discounting have become to the high street.

“Shoppers simply weren’t willing to part with their pounds until hefty price cuts took place, as the steep decline the week before Black Friday illustrates.”

She added: “Given the poor performance of UK retail for the year and the distressing dependence on steep discounting, retailers will be desperately hoping that this December won’t prove, yet again, to be another disastrous month of Christmas trading.”

with PA Wires

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