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UK retail sales rise at fastest annual rate in more than ten years

UK retail sales rose at their fastest annual rate in more than 10 years in November, thanks to the effects of Black Friday, official figures show.

Sales rose 6.4% compared with November last year, the highest annual increase since May 2004.

On a monthly basis they rose by 1.6%, with growth in all areas for the first time since December 2013.

US-style discounts for Black Friday took off in the UK this year, with stores seeing record sales.

Electrical goods sales jumped 32% from a year earlier and sales at department stores were up 15%, both of which were the biggest increases since records began in 1988, the Office for National Statistics said.

Online sales increased by 12.9% compared with last year.

However, last year Black Friday fell in December, making the comparison more pronounced.

Lower prices
"These numbers verify the shift in spending patterns happening in the final quarter of the year. Black Friday led to unprecedented demand," said Natalie Berg from Planet Retail.

"What we don't know is to what extent did this simply bring spending forward," she continued. "I suspect it slowed in the first couple of weeks in December."

Average retail prices fell by 2% compared with last year, the largest fall since August 2002, mainly due to the large drop in petrol prices.

Prices at food stores were also lower, recording their largest fall in since June 2002.

"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," said David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), a group which represents businesses.

Source : BBC News

19 December 2014

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