Retail sales rose at a slightly weaker than expected pace in November but the previous month’s growth was revised up, leaving the broad picture unchanged from analysts’ forecasts.
The Office for National Statistics said sales volumes including automotive fuel rose 0.3 per cent last month and by an upwardly revised 0.7 per cent in October. Analysts had forecast a rise of 0.4 per cent on the year for an annual rise of 0.7 per cent.
The figures highlighted growing price pressures, particularly for clothing and footwear which may dismay policymakers worried about a combination of slow growth and rising inflation.
The textile, clothing and footwear deflator stood at 2.5 per cent, the highest since the series began in 1988. It said that retailers claimed they had been absorbing higher cotton prices but the figures suggested otherwise.
The ONS said sales growth on the month was driven by the other stores category with sales of toys, sporting goods, watches and jewellery all up. Households goods sales fell sharply.
Internet sales accounted for 10.5 per cent of all sales, the highest proportion on record and versus 7.9 per cent a year ago. The ONS said there was anecdotal evidence that shoppers were browsing for goods in stores before purchasing on the internet.