UK retail sales smash expectations in November as the Black Friday effect hits

Patricia Madej
Shoppers During The 2015 Black Friday Sales
Black Friday helped to drive sales (Source: Getty)

UK retail sales performed better than expected last month, partly driven by sales on Black Friday.

Retail sales grew five per cent compared with last November, and grew 1.7 per cent from October, the Office for National Statistics reported this morning.

James Knightly, a senior global economist at ING, said sales had been expected to rise just 0.5 per cent from October.

He attributed the growth to “strong confidence, firm employment and rising real wage growth” - as well as Black Friday.

And while he suggested it is "only a matter of time before domestically generated inflation picks-up", the figures also suggested retailers had kept prices low, with average store prices falling 3.3 per cent in November from last year.

Meanwhile the amount spent in retailers rose 1.4 per cent, while online retail sales also continued to show strong growth, jumping 12.7 per cent from last year and 4.9 per cent from October.

Food sales also rose 0.8 per cent from October, while clothing was up 2.8 per cent and household goods were up 4.1 per cent.

The ONS report doesn’t include Cyber Monday figures, which will be included in December’s report.

But the reports are a stark contrast from the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) findings for November.

The group found retail sales fell 0.4 per cent from last November, while total sales edged up 0.7 per cent.

Contrary to the ONS, the BRC also reported that out of 12 product categories, only furniture and home accessories grew due to strong electrical good sales on Black Friday.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, called the month’s numbers “a reality check”.

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