Retailers failed to benefit from a big Black Friday boost last month, with cautious consumers holding back unless they saw a spectacular bargain.
That’s the verdict from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which said retail sales in November increased by just 0.6% on 2016 on a like-for-like basis.
On a total basis, sales rose 1.5% in November against 1.3% the previous year, in line with the three-month average of 1.4%.
“This year’s Black Friday has demonstrated that in such a tough economic environment, consumers have become ever more careful, willing to wait and deploy their discretionary income only when they see an exceptional bargain,” said British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson.
Challenging festive period
“That heralds a challenging festive period ahead for retailers and shoppers alike.
“With current conditions likely to persist into next year, the government needs to do all it can to support the UK’s consumers, not least by securing a fair Brexit for them in the forthcoming trade negotiations.”
The joint BRC/KPMG survey showed a continuing shift from bricks-and-mortar sales to online shopping.
Over the three months to November 2017, in-store sales of non-food items declined 3.0% on a total basis and 3.7% on a like-for-like basis. On a 12-month basis, the total decline was 2.2%, the deepest since our records began in January 2012.