Pre-Xmas jump in retail sales


Pre-Xmas jump in retail sales
High street sales increased slightly during November, official figures released today show.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), retail sales rose 0.4 per cent between October and November.

The figures come amid continuing worries over the effect of the Northern Rock affair and the global credit crunch on consumers this Christmas.

But the ONS data suggests that retailers may be in line for a healthy festive season.

The government agency says the figures suggest "sustained, positive [and] underlying" growth, with total sales volumes in the three months to November 4.8 per cent higher than the same period last year.

Non-seasonally adjusted retail sales for the three months to November were 3.4 per cent above the data recorded in 2006.

According to Capital Economics, the 0.4 per cent rise was "hardly spectacular".

But the analyst added that the increase was "pretty good nonetheless, given that consumers don't have a lot to feel cheery about".

"Retailers are working hard to get people to spend," its UK analyst Vicky Redwood explained.

However, she added: "High interest rates, a slowing housing market and rising energy prices all look likely to put a bigger dent in sales growth next year."

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