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Financial News: UK Retail Sales Rebounds Strongly In November On

UK Retail Sales Rebounds Strongly In November On Black Friday Promotions

12/20/2018 - 05:26:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - UK retail sales rose for the first time in three months in November to surpass economists' expectations, thanks to Black Friday promotions and record online spending, while the long term trend was that of a slowdown, amid the persistent Brexit uncertainties.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Thursday that the volume of retail sales including automotive fuel rose 1.4 percent from October, which was much faster than the 0.3 percent growth economists had predicted. The latest increase was the first in three months as sales fell 0.4 percent each in both September and October. Year-on-year, retail sales including automotive fuel grew 3.6 percent in November following a 2.4 percent increase in October. Economists had expected a 2 percent gain. The year-on-year increase was the biggest since July, when sales grew 3.9 percent. Better sales data mask tough times on the high street as the economy is set to lose momentum further over the winter months, ING economist James Smith said. "With consumer confidence back at post-referendum lows, Christmas looks set to be a tricky time for retailers as shoppers become more nervous about Brexit," the economist added.

Excluding automotive fuel, sales volume climbed 1.2 percent in November, far exceeding economists' prediction of 0.2 percent growth. Sales decreased 0.4 percent each in the previous two months. Compared to the same month last year, sales volume ex-auto fuel increased 3.8 percent in November after a 2.8 percent rise in October. Economists were looking for a 2.3 percent gain.

Online sales as a proportion of all retailing hit a record 21.5 percent in November and exceeded 20 percent for the first time, the ONS said.

Meanwhile, the three-month on three-month comparison in retail sales showed a slowing trend. Sales including auto fuel grew just 0.4 percent, which was the weakest gain since April. Excluding auto fuel, sales rose 0.5 percent.

"Retail growth continued to slow in the 3 months to November with strong increases in household goods offset by falling spending in department stores and food shops," ONS Head of Retail Sales Rhian Murphy said.

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