Retail sales grew strongly by 1.7% in November, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), largely boosted by the Black Friday sales.

The 1.7% rise compares with October. But compared with November last year, sales grew by an impressive 5%. And sales rose by 5.3% over the three month period.

The growth was stronger than many analysts expected, despite the Black Friday sales. Many retailers offered discounts over the weekend, and in some cases the week, rather than just for the one day.

The ONS said shoppers spent 1.4% more in November, compared with October, and by the same figure compared with November last year. With the majority of shoppers opting to spend their cash online on Black Friday this year, the value of online sales rose 4.9% on October and 12.7% the previous year.

Melanie Richard, head of retail sales at the ONS, said: "A continued fall in prices as well as promotions in the run up to Christmas have helped to boost the amount shoppers bought in November, both on the high street and online, with the biggest increases coming from department stores and household goods retailers."

Keith Richardson from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said: "These figures may look strong, and Black Friday certainly saw a lot of money being spent at the end of November, but it is still too early to say whether it was really a success for retailers.

"Retailers were better prepared this year and adapted the US-style Black Friday to better reflect British culture. Some chose not to take part while many others spread the discounts over several days to better protect margins and ease the burden on their websites and IT platforms."