Retail sales growth jumps in November but lags far behind inflation

Paying more to buy less

Valeria Martinez
clock • 1 min read
Black Friday discounts and the start of the festive shopping season boosted sales.
Image:

Black Friday discounts and the start of the festive shopping season boosted sales.

Retail sales in the UK picked up in November, but sales growth remained far below the current rate of inflation, suggesting volumes continued to be down on last year.

Total sales rose by 4.2% in November, compared with the same month a year ago, up from an annual growth rate of 1.6% in October, according to an industry survey by the British Retail Consortium in association with KPMG. 

Black Friday discounts and the start of the festive shopping season boosted sales, however, the BRC cautioned that a large portion of the increase was due to extremely high inflation, which increased the value of the items being sold while hiding weaker sales volumes.

The figures are not adjusted for consumer price inflation, which hit a 41-year high of 11.1% in October.

UK households could face 'financial breaking point' if inflation hits 18%

Helen Dickinson, CEO at BRC, said that as the weather began to turn, customers purchased winter warmers, such as coats, hot water bottles, and hooded blankets. Black Friday discounts also boosted sales of home furnishings as many households.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said the next few weeks will be critical to the survival of retailers, which have been hit hard as consumer confidence and spending declines, and costs continue to rise. 

"Given the economic headwinds for the year ahead, with consumer behaviour expected to evolve further as shoppers look to trade down and purchase less, understanding and meeting customer needs will be mission critical for retailers, and it is a job that keeps getting harder," he added.

More on UK

Trustpilot