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Black Friday boost for retail sales

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
UK retail sales increased 1.1% between October and November, while year-on-year growth rose 1.6%, official statistics reveal.

The three-month on three-month retail sales data came in at 0.8%, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.

Spending on household goods showed the strongest growth at 2.9% while retailers suggested that the annual mega-shopping event, Black Friday, contributed to the rise, with electrical household appliances making the largest contribution to the growth.

However, average store prices increased by 3.1% in November compared with the same time last year, with shoppers feeling the 3.6% rise in food prices – the highest rise since September 2013.

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said after a disappointing October, it was good to see retail sales picking up again in November.

“It was a month of two halves, with a slow start followed by sales ramping up in the final few weeks as retailers kicked off their Black Friday and Christmas promotional activity in earnest.

“Given the continued resilience of consumer sentiment, we’re optimistic that Christmas shopping sales in December will hold up. However, one immediate risk is the weather – snow and freezing conditions have dissuaded many shoppers from hitting the high street over the past week, and also delayed the deliveries of some online orders.

“Looking further ahead, UK consumers remain cautious about big ticket spending, particularly as income growth slows and inflation remains above 3%. We predict that furniture and electronics will be one of the first casualties of consumers tightening their belts, although we won’t see the impact of this on the high street until the first quarter of 2018, which is traditionally the time of year that people think about big purchases for their homes.”

Hooker added there will be one big winner this Christmas period – the grocery sector, as consumer spending on food for Christmas dinner tops their festive spending priorities.

“The combination of price inflation and a return of volume growth should boost the performance of the whole grocery sector over the Christmas period,” she added.

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