UK retail sales growth slowed in November as cautious consumers continue to put off Christmas spending, despite Black Friday sales starting earlier, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.


The initial momentum from the earlier-than-usual Black Friday sales period failed to hold throughout November

Total UK retail sales increased 2.7% in November, against a rise of 4.2% in November 2022. This was slightly above the three-month average growth of 2.6%, but well below the 12-month average of 4.1%.

Food sales grew 7.6% on a total basis over the three months to November, below the 12-month average growth of 8.4%.

Non-food sales decreased 1.6% on a total basis in the three months to November and was in decline year on year.

In-store non-food sales fell 0.8% on a total basis since November 2022, while online non-food sales slipped 2.1% against a 0.4% decline in the same period last year.

Cost pressures

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Black Friday began earlier this year as many retailers tried to give sales a much-needed boost in November. 

“While this had the desired effect initially, the momentum failed to hold throughout the month, as many households held back on Christmas spending. 

“Health and beauty products showed stronger growth, but non-food sales were down overall year on year. November had the highest proportion of non-food goods purchased online for 2023, though this remains below the previous year’s level.”

Dickinson continued: “Retailers are banking on a last-minute flurry of festive frivolity in December and will continue working hard to deliver an affordable Christmas for customers so everyone can enjoy some Christmas cheer. 

“Looking ahead to 2024, retailers will have to shoulder many new cost pressures, including a rise in business rates, as well as costs from other new regulations. 

“These, combined with the biggest rise on record to the National Living Wage, means retailers will have less capital to invest in lowering prices for their customers.”