Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Black Friday shopping spree boosts retail sales

Optimistic Lisa Hooker of PwC Optimistic Lisa Hooker of PwC
Kelvin Reese | 14 December, 2017, 14:43

British shoppers pounced on electrical goods and other Black Friday bargains last month, giving an unexpectedly big boost to retail sales, which contrasted with earlier signs of a subdued start to Christmas spending.

James Smith, economist at ING Bank, said the better than expected monthly figures should be treated with caution while there were few reasons to expect consumer spending to improve heading into 2018 - with wage growth failing to keep pace with inflation and signs of a stuttering jobs market.

The volume of goods bought in the United Kingdom rose by 1.1 per cent compared with October and was 1.6 per cent higher than a year ago, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

November's seeming strength has merely been a reflection of consumer bringing forward purchases they otherwise would have made in December or January to November, due to the discounts available on Black Friday, Pantheon 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.

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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.

Household goods stores specifically reported that Black Friday promotions had boosted sales, the ONS said, with the amount of electrical household appliances sold jumping by almost 9 percent compared with October. On a year ago, volumes ex-fuel were up 1.5% versus the 0.2% consensus estimate.

Analysts had expected November's reading to advance by just 0.4%. Retail sales rose 1.6 percent from a year earlier in November.

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

The ONS added the underlying pattern in the retail industry remained one of growth, with retail sales increasing 0.8% in the quarter through to October, compared with the previous three months.

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