Retail sales remain strong despite household pressures

Retail sales remain strong despite household pressures

Retail sales remain strong despite household pressures

Store prices, meanwhile, increased by 3.1% year-on-year last month, with price increases across all store types, in particular food stores had the largest price increase of 3.6% since September 2013.

The growth reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) beat the average expectation of economists that sales volumes compared with the previous month would increase by just 0.4%.

Black Friday sales helped retail sales soar past forecast in November as Britons splashed on household goods, official data released on Thursday (14 December) showed.

Retail sales volume climbed 1.1 percent on a monthly basis in November, with strong contribution from households goods stores.

Sales were forecast to grow marginally by 0.4 percent after expanding 0.5 percent in October. Department stores, however, saw their sales fall by 0.9% which the ONS said "continues a recent pattern of slowdown in this sector".

The market reaction was muted and some economists said the surge in retail sales might reflect Christmas spending being brought forward to take advantage of Black Friday discounts. However, when the impact of inflation is factored in, real weekly wages fell by 0.2%, when including bonuses and by 0.4% when excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier.

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The increase last month means sales will rise in the fourth quarter unless December sees a decline of more than 3 percent.

The figures may provide some reassurance to the Bank of England, which raised interest rates for the first time in over a decade last month and will publish its latest rate decision at 1200 GMT.

The data include the much-hyped shopping day "Black Friday", when many retailers slash their prices to boost sales ahead of the festive period.

Black Friday is an import from the United States, where it takes place on the day after Thanksgiving and is regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping period.

Three-month figures, which even out short-term fluctuations, also show growth with the quantity of goods bought up 0.8%.

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