Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed 5.8% year-on-year sales growth in November (non-seasonally adjusted retail sales excluding fuel: J3L2), Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“It is clear that plenty of customers used the Black Friday sales as an opportunity to snap up bargains ahead of Christmas. This sales event, once limited to the last week in November, has now become a month-long discounting event. While traditional sales in TVs and other electronics could be found, there has been a clear expansion in clothing and footwear Black Friday discounts, boosting sales growth in these areas. This was bolstered by the cold weather during November, which led many to prepare their wardrobe for the Winter. While e-commerce was down on last year, when lockdown pushed more consumers online, it still remains significantly up on pre-pandemic levels.
“Retailers focus is now squarely in the final preparations for Christmas. Rising Covid cases will be a big concern for many customers, however retail staffing is currently at manageable levels. There has already been a gargantuan effort to ensure that essential food and gifts are ready for the festive season, despite ongoing challenges in the supply chain. We remain confident it will be a great Christmas for consumers, and retailers are pulling out the stops to keep staff and customers as safe as possible during these difficult times.”
All changes are year-on-year and non-seasonally adjusted.