UK retail sales up 0.3% in November

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Media caption"Clothing stores had a very good month" says ONS head of retail, Kate Davies

UK retail sales rose last month, official figures show, as the colder weather boosted sales of warm clothing.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said sales rose by 0.3% in November from the month before, and were up 2% from a year earlier.

The increase was driven by a 3.8% rise in sales of shoes, clothes and textiles.

Online sales hit a record, the ONS said, reaching 11.9% of total sales when spending on fuel is excluded.

However, sales in department stores fell by 3.1% in the month.

Retailing is seen as a key indicator of consumer confidence, as when people are spending money in the shops, it is generally held the economy must be doing better.

'Decent increase'

The British Retail Consortium said sales in November had been slow at first, but then picked up as the colder weather sparked an increase in the sales of winter clothing.

David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said the ONS figures were in line with expectations and showed a "decent monthly increase".

"Over the fourth quarter as a whole the pace of retail sales has dipped, but this may reflect a pause rather than a downtrend," he said.

"A softer retail picture may help assuage some fears that growth is currently just being driven by consumer spending."

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