By Marcus Leach

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that retail sales for November 2011 were 4.6% up on the same period in 2010.

Further to that sales volumes were up by 0.7% from the same time last year. However, sales volume, in comparison with October, was down 0.4% as retailers felt the pressure of consumers reigning in their spending as the economy remains uncertain.

Other highlights:

- Non-store retailing and automotive fuel sales volumes increased in November 2011 compared to November 2010 by 18.9 and 2.7 per cent respectively. The predominantly food and predominantly non-food sectors saw sales volumes decrease by 0.6 and 0.7 per cent respectively.

- Non-seasonally adjusted volume data shows that again small stores provided the most upward pressure increasing by 4.5 per cent, in comparison large stores decreased by 0.1 per cent over the same period. Non-seasonally adjusted value data shows that small stores value sales grew by 7.8 per cent, in comparison large stores increased by 3.6 per cent.

- The average weekly spend on online retailing has increased to £787.9 million up from £546.4 million in October 2011 and is now estimated to account for 12.2 per cent of all retail sales (excluding automotive fuel).

“It seems that even after a fairly aggressive spell of price-discounting on the high street consumers remain reticent, reluctant to spend money," Jeremy Cook, chief economist at foreign exchange company, World First, said.

“We had seen sales hold up well in previous months as retailers cut prices before Christmas, but this simply seems to have dragged spending forward and we may now be looking at a void through December and January unless sentiment improves.

“Sterling has slipped slightly on the release, falling 0.2% versus the dollar.”

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