Shoppers flooded online to buy their Christmas shopping early as retail sales rose 2.3% in November.

Sales edged up 0.6% on a like-for-like basis, down from the 0.8% growth recorded in October, as more than half the growth in non-food sales came from online, the BRC said.

Like-for-like retail sales rose 0.7% over the last three months, with non-food sales up 1.5% but food like-for-likes were down 0.5%.

Online non-food sales jumped 16% in the month as consumers hunted for Black Friday deals last week.

Online sales now account for 19.9% of UK retail and are expected to break through the 20% mark in December, according to the BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor.

November’s online growth was the best this year and, excluding December months, the best in three years.

Online clothing and footwear sales were strong in November as the cold weather bit at the end of the month but furniture and flooring sales slowed. Homewares sales grew as shoppers began their Christmas shopping.

BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said: “After a slow start, November growth picked up in a big way in the final week, when the one month countdown to Christmas coupled with falling temperatures saw many of us making a start on seasonal spending.

“This trend was particularly evident on the non-food front, where clothing and footwear were star performers after a disappointing run of results, thanks to growing interest in winter clothes and partywear.”

She added: “The signs are that many of us went online during the month to make an early start on our present shopping, and the Cyber Monday effect is likely to continue that trend into December.”

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said: “Online sales will continue to soar in the run up to Christmas, reaching record heights in December, with transactions spiking on Mega Monday – the last day for guaranteed delivery before Christmas.”