Retail sales edged up in November as Black Friday promotions failed to deliver the non-food boost the sector had hoped for.
On a like-for-like basis retail sales increased 0.6% year-on-year and were up 1.5% overall in the four weeks to November 25, according to the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor.
In-store non-food sales dropped 3% overall and 3.7% in like-for-like terms on a three-month basis.
On a 12-month basis, in-store non-food sales posted the steepest fall on record, down 2.2%.
Although online non-food sales increased 6.5% in November, this was below three and 12-month averages of 7.3% and 8% respectively.
This meant that overall non-food retail sales declined 1.2% on a like-for-like basis and 0.6% on a total basis in the three months to November.
Food fared better during the period, and sales increased 2.8% on a like-for-like basis and 4% overall in the three months to November.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Black Friday, the big retail event of the month, failed to fundamentally shift underlying trends in spending.
“Food sales were responsible for pretty much all the growth this month as higher prices continue to absorb more of the weekly shopping budget. Non-food sales – the focus of Black Friday – fell, as the squeeze on household incomes continues to impact discretionary spend.”
KPMG’s head of retail Paul Martin added: “Retailers will be wondering whether the juice is worth the squeeze, with Black Friday sales resulting in a meagre 0.6% uptick in like-for-like growth when compared to November last year. In what has been a difficult year for the industry, any growth is most welcome, but profitability is what remains paramount.
“In what remains of this year, the difference between success and failure will be akin to retailers walking a tightrope.
“Retailers would be wise to focus on differentiation, personalisation and ensuring the availability of their products in the coming weeks.”