British retail sales rise 1.3% in November, beating forecasts

LONDON (Reuters) – British retail sales volumes rose by 1.3% in November compared with the month before, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed on Friday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast that sales volumes would rise by a median 0.4% on the month although the estimates ranged widely.

Compared with November last year, retail sales were 0.1% higher. The Reuters poll had pointed to a fall of 1.3%.

Excluding sales of automotive fuel, sales volumes rose 1.3%on the month and were 0.3% higher compared with November 2022.

Britain’s shoppers have been hit by a rise in borrowing costs which stand at a 15-year high and by rapid inflation which dropped below 4% in the latest data but outpaced growth in wages for much of the past two years.

The ONS had said last month that wet weather in October contributed to a 0.3% fall in sales volumes that month, but on Friday it revised estimates to show they were flat.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by William Schomberg and Kate Holton)