Bumper sales for United Kingdom retailers in November: ONS

Bumper sales for United Kingdom retailers in November: ONS

Bumper sales for United Kingdom retailers in November: ONS

Black Friday propped up retail sales last month as electrical appliance sales made the largest contribution to growth.

James Smith, economist at ING Bank, said the better-than -expected monthly figures should be treated with caution while there were few reasons to expect consumer spending to improve heading into 2018 - with wage growth failing to keep pace with inflation and signs of a stuttering jobs market.

Sales volumes rallied 1.1% month-to-month in November, the Office for National Statistics revealed, which was much higher than the consensus 0.4% forecast. "The boost from Black Friday will be fleeting", Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics said. "Households will simply borrow a little more and save a little less to smooth out their consumption", he said. "The official data are failing to fully adjust for the new seasonal pattern generated by Black Friday, which only gained traction in the United Kingdom three years ago", said economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Looking at the past three months as a whole, which smoothes out monthly volatility, the picture is gloomier.

The figures caused the pound to jump 0.3 per cent against the both dollar and the euro, to $1.3464 and €1.1386 respectively.

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The ONS found revealed the quantity of products bought in food stores decreased by 0.1% year-on-year, while the amount spent increased by 3.5%, due largely to the 3.6% increase in average food prices. Food prices are rising at their fastest rate in four years, adding to the squeeze on household budgets. The consensus was for a 0.3% rise on the year.

The chart shows the boost to non-seasonally adjusted retail sales volumes in November has been growing every year since 2014, when Black Friday took off.

Retail sales have returned to steady growth since a sharp slow down earlier this year as higher inflation began to kick in. But home furnishings company Carpetright cut forecasts after warning of fragile consumer confidence.

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