Black Friday lifts United Kingdom retail sales in November

Bumper sales for UK retailers in November: ONS

"Christmas day falls on a Monday this year - last time that happened, in 2006, the Friday before was the most popular day for grocery shopping that year", said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at the company.

Consumers have been squeezed through most of this year by rising inflation which hit its highest in almost six years last month, at a time when wages are failing to keep up.

In November, total United Kingdom retail sales rose by 1.1% compared to a 0.5% rise in October, surpassing forecasts by economists of only 0.4%.

The figures may provide some reassurance to the Bank of England, which raised interest rates for the first time in over a decade last month and will publish its latest rate decision at 1200 GMT.

"The risk from inflation to real spending growth has been exaggerated".

ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy said: "Household goods stores had a good November, with a number of businesses saying that Black Friday promotions boosted sales".




Excluding fuel sales, retail sales grew 1.2% month-on-month, compared with forecasts for a 0.4% gain and with the upwardly revised 0.4% gain recorded last month.

Looking at the past three months as a whole, which smoothes out monthly volatility, the picture is gloomier.

However, average store prices increased by 3.1% in November compared with the same time a year ago, with shoppers feeling the 3.6% rise in food prices - the highest rise since September 2013. On past year, volumes ex-fuel were up 1.5% versus the 0.2% consensus estimate.

United Kingdom retail sales are rising much faster than expected, receiving strong support by Black Friday and holiday season. The consensus was for a 0.3% rise on the year. This strength has merely reflected people bringing forward purchases that they otherwise would have made in December or January to November, due to the discounts available on Black Friday.

The monthly sales figures also show the increasing importance of online shopping in the United Kingdom, with an increase in average weekly spending of 10.2% compared with a year ago.

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