UK Retail Sales See a Boost

UK retail sales saw a boost in November which were predominantly fuelled by Black Friday sales.

According to official figures, sales rose 6.4% from the same time last year in November as Black Friday because an increasingly important event in the British shopping calendar and this increase alone was the highest since May 2004.

However, taken into a monthly context, the rise was significantly smaller at 1.6% growth in all areas since December 2013. Electrical goods saw the highest jump in sales with an increase of 32% from the same point last year which is the biggest increase since records began back in 1988. It was department stores making the most of this increased interest as well as they saw an increase of 15% in sales from their shops.

It was not just physical shops that saw a beneficial rise however as online retailers also reported a 12.9% sales increase over last year as the market continues to expand. Natalie Berg from Planet Retail said of these figures:

“These numbers verify the shift in spending patterns happening in the final quarter of the year. Black Friday led to unprecedented demand. What we don’t know is to what extent did this simply bring spending forward, I suspect it slowed in the first couple of weeks in December.”

Another reason that could be attributed to the rise of sales is that of falling retail prices, largely due to a fall in oil, and therefore fuel, prices and a continuing supermarket pricing war which has seen average retail prices fall by their greatest margin since August 2002 as they dropped 2% from the same point last year. Food prices have seen their largest fall since June 2002. David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The decline in store prices reflects fierce competition in the retail sector and provides further evidence that inflation will fall below 1% in the coming months.”

The British economy has been strengthening solidly since it exited recession and is currently the fastest growing economy in the developed world as it tries to mark itself out at the top of the pack of global economic powers.  There have been increasing concerns that the country may suffer from slowdowns in trading partners such as China and the European Union but an increase in consumer spending seems to have led to some level of insulation against this.

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