LONDON, United Kingdom — Black Friday gave UK retailers an unexpected boost in the run-up to the key Christmas trading period.
The volume of goods sold in stores and online jumped 1.4 percent in November, the most in six months, following two months of declines. An increase of just 0.3 percent was forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Sales excluding auto fuel rose 1.2 percent.
Office for National Statistics says increase driven by 5.3 percent rise in sales of household goods. Overall non-food sales rose 2.2 percent; food was unchanged.
Sales will grow in the fourth quarter unless December sees a monthly decline of 1 percent or more. Annual sales growth accelerated to 3.6 percent. The survey was carried out between October 28 and November 24, a period that covered Black Friday on November 23. Online sales exceeded 20 percent of the total for the first time.
The pound climbed after the data and was trading $1.2687 as of 9:40 a.m. London time, up 0.6 percent on the day. The data may help retail stocks, which have fallen over 16 percent since the end of October after warnings of difficult trading from firms including Sports Direct and Asos. The Bank of England is expected to keep interest rates unchanged today and traders have all-but ruled out an increase before Britain leaves the European Union on March 29.
By David Goodman; editors: Fergal O'Brien, Andrew Atkinson.