Retail sales figures
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that retail sales values rose 4.6% year-on-year in November. Although retail sales volumes rose 0.7% in the month compared to the same month a year earlier, they fell 0.4% from October 2011.
Non-store retailing and automotive fuel sales volumes increased by 18.9% and 2.7% respectively compared to November 2010. The food and non-food sectors saw sales volumes decrease by 0.6% and 0.7% respectively.
Non-seasonally adjusted volume data showed that small stores provided the most upward pressure, increasing by 4.5% year-on-year. In comparison large stores decreased by 0.1% over the same period.
The British Retail Consortium said the statistics appeared to fly in the face of recent retail failures and profit warnings.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: "The evidence we’re receiving suggests consumers have approached this Christmas with great caution, reining in their spending in November and leaving it late to start their Christmas shopping."
He continued: "The values retailers reported to us showed November sales barely up on a year ago, the weakest growth for six months. The continuing high levels of pre-Christmas discounting and promotions are another symptom of weak demand."
The ONS said online sales increased to £787.9 million in the month up from £546.4 million in October 2011 and now account for 12.2% of all retail sales excluding automotive fuel.
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