It’s no huge surprise that sales, as measured by the Office for National Statistics, were up last month.

Black Friday helped lure shoppers into snapping up bargains before Christmas.

The event this year generated the “biggest ever week” of sales for John Lewis, and record-breaking figures for Dixons Carphone.

The ONS said the 5.9% rise in industry sales – in value and volume terms – was driven by increased electricals and home category sales, with online sales growing 25% year-on-year.

However last month also marked the first increase in retail prices since June 2014, according to the ONS. 

The rise was only 0.1%, but Barclays head of retail and wholesale Ian Gilmartin branded the increase a “notable development”. 

Either way, shoppers have seen nothing yet, as retailers including The Entertainer, Next and have already warned of price rises in the New Year.

Elsewhere, Danish toy brand Lego said it too would be hiking retail prices from January, as the Brexit vote continues to hit the value of the pound.

Elsewhere, Argos will be relieved that the three-day strike threatened by its delivery drivers has been called off after a deal on holiday back-pay was reached.

And JD Sports has immediately ordered an investigation into conditions at its Rochdale warehouse, following Channel 4’s undercover investigation.

Quote of the day

“Six months ago today Sir Philip promised Parliament that he would ’sort’ the pension scheme, but he hasn’t done that. He has made that promise in many ways, many times, before and since. But he hasn’t done it.

“We know that it is within Sir Philip’s own means to have prevented this entirely, to meet all the promises made to his staff. I would like to ask now, on behalf of the BHS pensioners: ’Sir Philip, what have you sorted?’ What a fantastic Christmas gift it would be to the 20,000 pensioners counting on Sir Philip if he were to keep that promise now.”

 – MP Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, reminding Sir Philip Green of his pledge to “find a solution to” the BHS pension deficit.

Today in numbers


The level pre-Christmas discounting is expected to rise by December 24

The amount Lego is set to increase retail prices by from New Year’s Day

Tomorrow’s agenda

In the absence of any scheduled updates tomorrow, look out for the first in a series of features looking back over 2016 in retail and, of course, the latest episode of The Retail Week.

Emily Hardy, reporter