Retail sales see unexpected rise in November

UK retail sales unexpectedly rose by 0.3% in November for the first time in three months. Consumer spending in the run up to Christmas, spurted by heavy discounting among food retailers and supermarkets boosted sales volumes.

According to the Office for National Statistics, British retail sales were up 1.5% from a year ago and rose 0.3% in the month of November after falling by the same amount in October. The rise is contrary to analysts’ expectations that retail sales would drop by 0.6% in November.

Food sales were up 0.2% in November and online retail sales rose 0.6% to 3.8%, compared to 3.2% in October. Sales of household goods rose 3.9%, its biggest increase since July. But clothing and footwear were down 0.1%.

The statistics office says that an increase in sales at household goods stores and non-store retail and repair shops were the primary drivers of growth despite rising unemployment and uncertain economic outlook.

Last week, the British Retail Consortium said that total British retail sales had fallen in consecutive months for the first time in at least 13 years.

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