Retail sales continue on upwards trend ahead of Christmas shopping season

Helen Cahill
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Inflation Rose To A Two Year High In November 2016
The Christmas period will be crucial for retailers (Source: Getty)

The amount Britons spent in November increased 5.9 per cent year-on-year, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

At £34.2bn for the four-week period, retail sales in November were up 0.5 per cent as compared to October. This equated to an average weekly spend of £8.5bn. The ONS said retailers selling household goods had boosted their sales with the week of offers around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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Store prices increased by 0.1 per cent as compared to November last year - the first annual increase since June 2014. The largest increase in prices came from petrol stations.

For every pound spent in retail last month, 40p was spent in food stores, 43p in non-food stores, 8p in non-store retail and 9p in outlets selling car fuel.

Kate Davies, ONS senior statistician, said: “Retailers saw continued growth in the run up to Christmas. Department stores and household goods stores had a particularly strong month, especially in sales of electronic goods, boosted by 'Black Friday' deals.

“Annual growth in fuel sales, however, was at its lowest level for almost two years as prices increased at the fastest rate since 2011.”

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Paul Sirani, chief market analyst at Xtrade, said: “The retail sector has been in fine fettle since Brexit and, although today’s figures aren’t as strong as October’s, there’s plenty of reason to believe that shoppers will continue to spend well over the festive period.

“The jobs market appears to be strong, with job security and wages both looking solid, and Brexit is yet to really take its toll on prices. Yet the forecast for rising inflation next year is a big worry for consumers. Prices look set to soar in 2017 and households could be put under huge strain.”

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