Retail sales growth weakest since 2011

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RETAIL SALES grew at the weakest pace for any November since 2011 as hopes of a surge from Black Friday discounts fell flat, according to a survey from the British Retail Consortium.

The BRC said the total value of retail sales between November 1 and November 28 was 0.7 per cent higher than in the November period of 2014, slowing from a meagre 0.9 per cent the month before.

In its previous survey the BRC had speculated that shoppers were holding fire for Black Friday at the end of November - a day of US sales promotions which has been adopted by British retailers in recent years.

“November’s relatively flat sales figures are a reality check for the retail sector, with consumers holding off for a Black Friday bargain pitted against retailers determined to hold on to their hard-earned margins,” David McCorquodale, head of retail at survey sponsor KPMG, said.

Furniture and electrical appliances sold particularly well, driven by the Black Friday sales.

The BRC said the build-up to the Christmas sales period was “one of the hardest to read in years”, with shoppers increasingly purchasing goods online.

A separate survey for the Money Advice Trust charity showed more than a third of consumers planned to borrow to pay for Christmas presents this year. “With underlying borrowing having risen sharply over the last year, we are concerned that this extra Christmas spending will be the last straw for many household budgets,” it said.