Bumper sales for United Kingdom retailers in November: ONS

Bumper sales for UK retailers in November: ONS

This was substantially more than the 0.4 per cent monthly gain that economists had been expecting.

However, there was unexpected cheer from the country's retailers in data for November released by the Office of National Statistics that showed sales volumes increased 1.6% compared to the same period one year ago, which beat all forecasts by economists.

Household goods stores specifically reported that Black Friday promotions had boosted sales, the ONS said, with the amount of electrical household appliances sold jumping by almost 9 percent compared with October.

Last month, however, because of the exceptionally good Black Friday offers, consumers were up and the stores reported good sales growth.

Through most of 2017 consumers have felt squeezed by increasing inflation which hits the hardest in close to six years in November, during a time when wages have failed to maintain pace.

"The boost from Black Friday will be fleeting", Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

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The ONS survey period ended on November 25, the day after Black Friday. 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.

Official data earlier this week showed that consumer price inflation rose to its highest in almost six years at 3.1 percent in November, while the number of people in work fell for a second consecutive month. Sales in the three months to November grew by just 1.0 percent compared with a year earlier, the weakest since May 2013.

However, average store prices increased by 3.1% in November compared with the same time past year, with shoppers feeling the 3.6% rise in food prices - the highest rise since September 2013.

"Household goods stores had a good November, with a number of businesses saying that Black Friday promotions boosted sales".

But home furnishings company Carpetright CPRC.L cut forecasts after warning of fragile consumer confidence.

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, added: "After a disappointing October, it's good to see retail sales picking up again in November".

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