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Retail sales rise modestly in November

UK retail sales saw a modest rise in November as consumers adopted a cautious approach to Christmas gift buying, a survey by the British Retail Consortium has revealed.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail sales rise modestly in November

UK retail sales saw a modest rise in November as consumers adopted a cautious approach to Christmas gift buying, a survey by the British Retail Consortium has revealed.

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor found that retail sale values edged up 0.4% on a like-for-like basis compared to November last year. On a total basis, sales were up 1.8%.

The BRC said that November got off to a good start as shoppers sought out must-have toys and other gifts for Christmas. Sales were also helped by the mid-season sales and the impact of half term, which was in the previous month last year. However sales growth slowed as the month progressed suggesting that consumers were being careful not to spend too much too soon in the run-up to Christmas.

Online sales were up 7.5% compared with November 2011, showing no material pick-up from October.

Stephen Robertson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said: "Overall, the emphasis continued to be on value with consumers looking at lower priced gifts. The same caution hit online sales, which delivered their third worst performance of the year. With consumers conscious that there will be a full shopping weekend immediately before Christmas, retailers are holding their nerve and counting on a last minute rush in the crucial final weeks."

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, added: "Much is hoped for from the Chancellor's Autumn statement but in the meantime, retailers enter December in a state of nervousness due to weak top-line growth and pressure on margins. Pricing throughout the month and strategic promotions will be fundamental in a key month."

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