ONS releases flat November retail sales figures

Following statistics from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also released damning figures in the lead up to the festive season. It was presumed that November would show an increase in sales after October’s shock 0.8 per cent fall.

But figures released by the ONS show that November only registered a 0.9 per cent increase on the dismal figures from a year ago – which is backed-up by the CBI Distributive Trades Survey’s findings

The past 12 months have proved a slow growth period for retailers, as food and clothing amounted to a 0.1 per cent drop from October 2012.

However, these figures only represent the quantity of goods sold and not the price – with the estimated price of goods sold increasing by 0.5 per cent compared to figures from November 2011.

Sales of electrical goods rose by 3.8 per cent during the November period, but that could be attributed to the sell-off of Comet’s goods at discounted prices as the retailer closed hundreds of UK stores.

Things are expected to pick up in the next few days, with British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson saying this weekend could buck the trend.

“With Christmas falling on a Tuesday this year, this weekend will be the critical one – I’m expecting a last-minute rush, but overall in sales terms it will be neither a bumper Christmas nor a disaster,” she explained.

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