Black Friday sales deliver huge boost to retail sector

Black Friday sales deliver huge boost to retail sector

Black Friday sales deliver huge boost to retail sector

Retail sales remained stronger than expected last month as businesses reported a Black Friday sales boost despite pressure on household incomes.

The figures suggest consumers are willing to keep spending despite the sharpest rise in inflation for nearly six years, driven by the higher cost of importing goods to the United Kingdom as a effect of the pound's weakness since the Brexit vote.

Month-on-month, sales rose by 1.1% in November from October, which was ahead of analysts' forecasts for 0.4% growth.

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said: "Given the continued resilience of consumer sentiment, we're optimistic that Christmas shopping sales in December will hold up".

"The boost from Black Friday will be fleeting", Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

However, on a three-month-on-three-month basis sales volumes were still up 0.8 per cent, suggesting that even without Black Friday shopping, consumer spending was still holding up despite rising inflation and slow wage growth.

The figures may provide some reassurance to the Bank of England, which raised interest rates for the first time in over a decade last month and will publish its latest rate decision at 1200 GMT.

Store prices, meanwhile, increased by 3.1% year-on-year last month, with price increases across all store types, in particular food stores had the largest price increase of 3.6% since September 2013.

But the picture was less rosy when comparing the past three months with the same period a year earlier - smoothing out monthly volatility. On past year, volumes ex-fuel were up 1.5% versus the 0.2% consensus estimate. Retail sales rose 1.6 percent from a year earlier in November. The ONS data showed the volume of food purchased was 0.1 percent lower than a year before, while spending on food was up by 3.5 percent.

But home furnishings company Carpetright cut forecasts after warning of fragile consumer confidence.

The monthly sales figures also show the increasing importance of online shopping in the United Kingdom, with an increase in average weekly spending of 10.2% compared with a year ago.

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