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Black Friday lifts UK retail sales in November

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

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that retailers had reported a particular uplift in sales of electrical household appliances.

Sales in November were up 1.1% from the month before.

ONS statistician Rhian Murphy said underlying growth remained “reasonably strong” and businesses had said that Black Friday promotions boosted sales.

However, Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “The surge in retail sales in November does not signal broader consumer strength.”

Black Friday is an import from the US, where it takes place on the day after Thanksgiving and is regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping period.

Mr Tombs said Black Friday had only gained traction in the UK three years ago, and the strength in November retail sales “merely reflected people bringing forward purchases that they otherwise would have made in December or January to November, due to the discounts available”.

The ONS said that the quantity of food bought in November fell by 0.1% compared to the same month last year.

However, the amount spent jumped by 3.5%, reflecting a rise in food prices that has contributed to the increase in inflation, which is now at a near six-year high of 3.1%.

Source: BBC

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