Black Friday wasn't quite the sales boost retailers may have expected

 
Helen Cahill
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Christmas In London
Oxford Street has turned on its Christmas lights to lure shoppers to the West End (Source: Getty)

Black Friday wasn't quite the spending boom that retailers were expecting.

Figures from KPMG and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that like-for-like UK retail sales increased 0.6 per cent in November.

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And, although non-food sales increased around 40 per cent on the week of Black Friday, the BRC said this was "more of a shift in sales", with sales decreasing in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Rather than increasing retailers' sales, savvy shoppers just waited until Black Friday to purchase what they would have bought anyway.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: "Overall, consumer spending remains stable, although very much value-driven with a focus towards products on promotion as shoppers take advantage of the deals of the moment."

Like-for-like food sales were flat over the three months to November, but increased 1.5 per cent in total, far ahead of the year average for total sales, which stands at 0.7 per cent. Barclaycard data out today has also suggested that consumers were spending more on essential items in November, such as food and fuel.

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Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics, said: "Despite the retail frenzy expected over Black Friday, sales rose just modestly in November, turning the event into a damp squib for many retailers.

"Fading demand for Black Friday is not necessarily a bad thing for retailers who would rather see incremental spend across the whole of the Christmas season than discounted sales pulled forward at the expense of future demand."

"The major problem facing the economy - and retailers in particular - is that it looks inevitable that the fundamentals for consumers will progressively and markedly weaken over the coming months with inflation rising appreciably due to the weakened pound and companies likely increasingly looking to hold down pay to limit their total costs in a challenging environment," said Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS.

"We suspect inflation could well reach three per cent during 2017."

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