Black Friday 2014 lifts UK retail growth to 10-year high

 
Kasmira Jefford
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UK retail sales growth surged to a 10-year high in November (Source: Getty)
UK retail sales growth surged to a 10-year high in November thanks to roaring trade on Black Friday weekend, when retailers offered discounts on thousands of products.

Falling commodity prices and the ongoing supermarket price wars have left households better off and helped boost consumer spending.

Retail sales volumes rose 1.6 per cent on the month to total 6.4 per cent growth on the year, the fastest annual growth since May 2004, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday.

Economists had been expecting retail sales to rise a mere 0.3 per cent on the month, and for sales to be 4.4 per cent higher on the year.

Black Friday, which follows Thanksgiving and was so-called because it marked the point in the year when retailers broke into the black, was introduced to the UK by US retailers and has now become key part of the pre-Christmas sales calendar.

Dixons Carphone boss Sebastian James said this week that it will overtake Boxing Day for the first time to become its busiest trading day of the year. Consumers spent a staggering £810m on 28 November, according to estimates by Experian.

The ONS said electrical stores and department stores enjoyed record performances with sales volumes up 32 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, year-on-year.

However, it cautioned that the figures may be skewed by the fact that Black Friday fell in the December trading period last year, with experts adding that it may have also brought forward Christmas sales due this month.

Sophie Bevan, head of retail and wholesale at accountancy firm BDO, said: “Some retailers have been very savvy about Black Friday, and had the capacity – both in store and online – to be able to make the most of it without sacrificing margins,”

“But the three-day shopping frenzy, less than a month before the traditional Boxing Day sale season, may not been entirely helpful to UK retailers in the long run,” she added.

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