The growth in British retail sales slowed in November as shoppers held off spending until the Black Friday flash sales at the end of the month, according to new figures.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed total spending last month rose by 1.3% year-on-year, a slower rate compared to October’s 2.4%.
Like-for-like-sales saw an annual growth of just 0.6%, a largely slower rate compared to the 1.7% growth seen in October. However, overall total non-food sales saw a three month average growth of 10.7% year-on-year and an increase of around 40% compared with the other weeks of the month.
The figures suggest that there was a shift in spending due to the Black Friday sales, with sales down on last year in the weeks running up to the 25th November.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, BRC said: “Whilst the figure isn’t spectacular, it’s a pretty solid performance in what has been a challenging year for sales in the UK.
“Overall, consumer spending remains stable, although very much value-driven with a focus towards products on promotion as shoppers take advantage of the deals of the moment and retailers strive to offer the best choice and value to their customers. With an extra weekend to shop for Christmas this year, nerves will be tested in December as retailers choose their strategies to attract the last minute gift shoppers.”
David Cheetham, market analyst at XTB.com said: “UK retail sales growth slowed in November, but there is still much to suggest that consumers are continuing their recent strong consumption habits which has been one of the brightest parts of the economy since Britain's EU referendum.
“Despite a 1.3% year-on-year increase in total spending being significantly lower than October's 2.4% equivalent rise, it still represents a reading that is stronger than the average for 2016 and part of the decline can be explained away by shoppers delaying purchases until the "Black Friday" sale which in itself offers big discounts and therefore could further reduce total spend.
He added: “Separate figures from Barclaycard, which cover the four weeks to 19th November showed rapid growth in overall consumer spending, rising 5.1% on a year earlier and coming in at the second fastest growth rate since October 2011. The data from BRC also didn't include fuel, with prices at the pump rising to their highest of the year so far recently and possibly set for further increases in light of the surge in the oil price since OPEC finalised a deal to support the market last week.”