Black Friday lifts United Kingdom retail sales in November

Rebound

Looked on a rolling three month basis, sales in November were up 0.8 per cent, the ONS data reveals.

In November, total United Kingdom retail sales rose by 1.1% compared to a 0.5% rise in October, surpassing forecasts by economists of only 0.4%.

Black Friday helped to propel retail sales 1.6% higher in November from a year earlier, official figures suggest.

Through most of 2017 consumers have felt squeezed by increasing inflation which hits the hardest in close to six years in November, during a time when wages have failed to maintain pace.

The reaction by the market was muted and some said the increase in retail sales could reflect spending for Christmas being move forward to enjoy the discounts offered on Black Friday.

That led economists to suggest the rise in sales may be temporary: Samuel Tombs, chief United Kingdom economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the surge does "not signal broader consumer strength".

The data is likely to appease Central Bank of England, which for the first time raised interest rates over more than a decade last month.

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During the last three months overall, which smooths volatility compared to just one month, the picture is not good.

When the BoE raised interest rates on November 2, it forecast real-terms household consumption growth would slow to 1 percent next year from 1.5 percent predicted for this year as demand shifted towards business investment and exports.

Household stores had a particularly strong November with sales up 2.9%, boosting the monthly increase in the quantity bought across all stores to 1.1% on October.

Retail sales have returned to steady growth since a sharp slow down earlier this year as higher inflation began to kick in. The increases far exceeded the median forecasts of economists.

"Household goods stores had a good November, with a number of businesses saying that Black Friday promotions boosted sales".

The British Retail Consortium said last week its members had seen subdued sales last month and credit card company Visa reported the first year-on-year fall in inflation-adjusted spending in five years as Britons cut back on big purchases.

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