Retail alert as November sales rise 0.7%

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson
BRC CEO Helen Dickinson

November retail sales were slow and distorted by Black Friday, with stores warned that the build-up to Christmas one of the most unpredictable according to a report.

The British Retail Consortium said total sales were up 0.7 per cent, compared with 2.2 per cent in November 2014.

Excluding online sales, only two categories - furniture and home accessories - showed growth in stores driven by Black Friday sales, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Black Friday had an “undoubtedly” significant impact on non-food categories, disturbing the build-up to Christmas and leading to 50 per cent higher sales than in the first week of November.

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said: “With growth of 0.7 per cent, November was quite a slow month overall for retail. The picture was somewhat mixed when we look across the different categories, with half experiencing growth and the other half seeing a decline.”

As people continue to adapt to the blurring of shopping patterns between ‘brick and click’ Ms Dickinson said: “this build-up to Christmas is one of the hardest to read in years.”

“The conversion of people’s higher disposable income into retail sales shouldn’t be taken for granted,” she added.