UK Retailers Get Black Friday Boost as Sales Jump 1.1%

Rebound

Black Friday helped to propel retail sales 1.6% higher in November from a year earlier, official figures suggest.

The market reaction was muted and some economists said the surge in retail sales might reflect Christmas spending being brought forward to take advantage of Black Friday discounts.

Nevertheless, the latest figures could provide reassurance to the country's central bank, the Bank of England, which increased its interest rates for just the first time in more than a decade in November and will publish it most recent rate decision Friday at noon.

"The risk from inflation to real spending growth has been exaggerated".

For the month, overall sales in retail were 1.1% higher, up from October's growth of 0.5% and far stronger than the forecasts by economists for a rise of 0.4%.

The monthly sales figures also show the increasing importance of online shopping in the United Kingdom, with an increase in average weekly spending of 10.2% compared with a year ago.

"The official data are failing to fully adjust for the new seasonal pattern generated by Black Friday, which only gained traction in the United Kingdom three years ago", he said.

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Looking at the past three months as a whole, which smoothes out monthly volatility, the picture is gloomier.

Official data earlier this week showed that consumer price inflation rose to its highest in almost six years at 3.1 percent in November, while the number of people in work fell for a second consecutive month.

ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy told media: "Household goods stores had a good November, with a number of businesses saying that Black Friday promotions boosted sales".

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.

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

But she added that with inflation likely to fall back and some survey evidence of pay growth picking up "there should be some scope for retail spending volumes to pick up more momentum in the New Year".

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