Retail sales accelerated in November as Christmas shoppers hit high street

UK retail sales picked up pace in November as shoppers hit the high street for early Christmas shopping and Black Friday, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said retail sales volumes increased by 1.4% for the month, accelerating from a 0.8% increase in October.

The reading was better than expected, with analysts having forecast that growth would remain steady at 0.8%.

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The ONS said sales volumes across the sector were now 7.2% higher than their pre-pandemic levels from February 2020.

UK retail sales picked up pace in November as shoppers hit the high street for early Christmas shopping and Black Friday, according to official figures.

November was boosted by non-food sales in stores, which lifted by 2% for the month.

It highlighted that this was particularly boosted by 2.9% growth in sales at clothing stores, which saw sales surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

Heather Bovill, deputy director for surveys and economic indicators at the ONS, said: “Retail sales picked up in November, boosted by strong Black Friday and pre-Christmas trading.

“Clothing stores fared particularly well and have exceeded their pre-pandemic level for the first time.

“Computer, toy and jewellery retailers also reported robust sales this month.

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“With more consumers choosing to visit the high street and retail parks, the proportion of online sales continued on a downward trend, to their lowest level since March 2020.”