UK retail sales in November improved marginally on the previous month, but came in well below the monthly average for both 2006 and 2007 to date.

Like-for-like sales rose by 1.2 per cent in November compared with 1 per cent in October. Last November, UK retail like-for-likes grew by just 0.5 per cent. The rate of growth fell from 2 per cent to 1.8 per cent from the three months to October to the three months to November.

BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins said: “This result was not unexpected, given that November is traditionally a quiet month for sales and that many consumers are feeling apprehensive about next year. Much of this modest growth came in the fourth week of the month, thanks to an upsurge in discounting activity. This points yet again to a very price-conscious Christmas for many consumers.”

KPMG head of retail Helen Dickinson said that womenswear had a particularly disappointing month, but added that there were some positive signs for most sectors in the last week of November.