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Black Friday discounts boosted UK retail sales in November – BRC

The UK’s version of the US Black Friday shopping spree pushed retail sales up 2.2% year-on-year to a three-month high in November, according to The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG survey Tuesday. Retail sales also grew 1.4% in the year to October.

Clothing, however, was the worst performing UK retail sector in November, despite a boost from Black Friday promotions, with mild weather continuing to dampen demand for winterwear.

However for the first time, £1 in every £5 was spent online on non-food products such as furniture, household appliances and clothing, with click-&-collect fast becoming the favoured shopping method. TVs were the best-selling products online, while health & beauty products were the fastest growing category during the month.

On a same-store sales basis, November retail revenues rose 0.9%, following a flat October and a 2.1% comps decline in September, and were up on the 0.6% rise last November. But total sales for the three-month period fell 0.5%, dragged down by food, with severe price wars at supermarkets to blame.

For the first time, most UK retailers fully embraced the US’s post-Thanksgiving Black Friday promotions, helping to kick-start trading early in the key Christmas selling period.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said even retailers that didn’t discount for Black Friday saw sales increase last month, noting online sales are contributing a large proportion of growth to non–food sales compared to in-store.”

She said the November figures were “fantastic news for retailers… These are encouraging signs in the run-up to Christmas, when consumers will likely want to push the boat out even more,” said Dickenson

• Some 65% of UK retailers that sell both online and in stores planned Black Friday promotions, according to a survey commissioned by Barclays.

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