Nov 25, 2016
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UK retail sales grow at fastest rate in over a year in November

Nov 25, 2016

British retail sales grew at their fastest rate in more than a year earlier this month as colder weather continued to boost clothing sales, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed on Friday.

The CBI distributive trades survey's retail sales balance rose to +26 in November from October's reading of +21, its highest since September 2015 and far stronger than economists' expectations of a fall to +12 in a Reuters poll.


British shoppers have shown little sign of retrenching spending since June's vote to leave the European Union, despite a sharp fall in sterling that looks set to push up prices early next year.

The CBI's expected sales balance for December also rose, while a broader quarterly measure of retailers' business situation was its healthiest since February.

"While we expect to see decent growth in the near term, retailers are keeping a close eye on price rises coming down the track and the impact on consumer spending," CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said.

The CBI said the rise in sales this month was driven by clothing and home hardware, as well as online sales.

"With the later onset of cold weather, shoppers stocking up their winter wardrobe has helped to boost high street sales," Newton-Smith said.

British retail sales volumes rose at their fastest annual rate since April 2002 last month, growing by 7.4 percent according to official data, as demand remains strong in the wake of June's EU referendum.

Friday's CBI data covered the period Oct. 27 to Nov. 14, and was based on responses from 61 retail chains.

On Friday itself, British retailers' websites, and to a lesser extent their stores, were awash with discounted goods on as shoppers chased 'Black Friday' deals in a spending spree that is expected to top last year's record level.

Last year marked a change in the nature of the U.S.-imported event. It generated record revenue but was unexpectedly subdued in terms of store-based sales, with shoppers put off by bad weather and memories of chaos and scuffles in 2014.


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