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ONS Retail Sales November 2019

Retail sales (value, non-seasonally adjusted, excluding fuel) dipped 0.2% year-on-year in November according to the latest figures from the ONS. However, retail data for November has been distorted by the timing of Black Friday, which fell later this year (on 29 November) and outside of the November reporting period.

Removing the effect of Black Friday, retail sales (value, seasonally adjusted, excluding fuel) were up 1.5% year-on-year, marking a significant slowdown on last year.

In volume terms, retail sales rose by just 0.8% on last year (seasonally adjusted, excluding fuel). On a month-on-month basis, volumes slipped back by 0.6%. A more accurate reflection of underlying trends is shown by the three-month on three-month growth, which reported a 0.3% decrease in sales volumes to November – the lowest rate in over 18 months.

The retail sales deflator (a measure of inflation specific to retail) increased by 0.3% (including fuel) in the year to November (up by 0.5% excluding fuel). Although this marks a slight rise on the previous month, the uplift is ultimately soft which points to the pressure non-food prices are under from discounting. Indeed, Non-Food stores continued to experience deflation in the month, falling 0.2% year-on-year, while inflation rose by 1.7% among Food stores.

Online sales (non-seasonally adjusted, excluding automotive fuel) declined by 0.8% year-on-year, marking the first decline on record. but skewed by the timing of Black Friday. Nevertheless, online sales accounted for over a fifth of retail sales at approximately 21.5% of all retail spending – the highest proportion since November last year.

Retail sales (volume, seasonally adjusted) – 3-months on previous 3-months

Source: ONS

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