UK retail sales boosted in November by early Christmas shopping

Christmas tree in shopping centre
UK retail sales picked up pace in November as shoppers hit the high street for early Christmas shopping and Black Friday.
// Retail sales jumped by 1.4% in November 2021 as Christmas shoppers hit the high street
// Retailers enjoyed strong trading thanks to Black Friday and the lead up to Christmas.

UK retail sales picked up pace in November as shoppers hit the high street for early Christmas shopping and Black Friday, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that retail sales volumes increased by 1.4% for the month, a significant increase on the 0.8% growth seen in October and 0.6% better than analyists had predicted.

Non-food stores sales volumes rose by 2% in the period, thanks primarily to the increases seen in clothing stores (2.9%) and other non-food retail (2.8%), with retailers enjoying strong trading related to Black Friday and in the lead up to Christmas.


Read more: Consumers take to the shops as Omicron spreads, says ONS 


The value of online spending rose by 0.1% in November, with the proportion of online sales dropping to 26.9% – down from 27.3% in October. This was the lowest proportion of online retail spending since the Covid-19 pandemic first hit the UK in March 2020 (22.6%), itself a significant increase on pre-pandemic online retail spending in February 2020 (19.7%).

Heather Bovill, deputy director for surveys and economic indicators at the ONS, said: “Retail sales picked up in November, boosted by strong Black Friday and pre-Christmas trading.

“Clothing stores fared particularly well and have exceeded their pre-pandemic level for the first time. Computer, toy and jewellery retailers also reported robust sales this month.

“With more consumers choosing to visit the high street and retail parks, the proportion of online sales continued on a downward trend, to their lowest level since March 2020.”

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