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Significant discounts in the run up to Black Friday failed to rally UK shoppers, resulting in another disappointing month for retailers, according to figures from accountancy firm BDO.

According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, total like-for-like sales in November fell by 0.3% compared to last year’s figures.

Despite the sales drop the month started positively, with LFL sales increasing by 4.7% in week one.

However, this was followed by falling sales in weeks two, three and four despite heavy discounting from retailers becoming more prevalent.

Online sales were particularly poor throughout the month and down by 0.2% last year. While in-store like-for-like sales grew, this was not enough to offset the negative online performance.

The fashion sector suffered the greatest drop in November. Total sales declined sharply by 3.6% from a robust base of 8.5% growth last year.

Two of the few category bright spots were sales in the homeware and lifestyle sectors, which grew by 5.2% and 2% respectively as both reported growth in in-store and online sales.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “The overall figures, and in particular the fashion sector’s poor performance in both store and non-store categories, suggest that Black Friday promotions and discounts alone are not enough to encourage consumer purchases. In fact, such events are merely proving to erode margins further; only collectively can retailers break this cycle.

“With discretionary spend still tight, it looks like consumers may be choosing to spend their budget on one slightly bigger item rather than several less expensive ones, thus bringing overall volumes down.

“Looking ahead, 2024 will continue to be a challenging period for the sector as business rate rises loom for many and the increase in the National Living Wage adds further pressure to overheads. In the event that consumer spend does pick-up significantly and retailers have a bumper December, it’s unlikely it will be enough to recover the Golden Quarter.”

Morning update

On a quiet Friday morning, the FTSE 100 is up 0.2% to 7,531.9pts.

Early risers include Sainsbury’s, up 3.4% to 300p, Ocado, up 3.4% to 635.8p and Just Eat, up 2.6% to 1,293p.

Fallers so far include Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, down 1.7% to €58.50, Imperial Brands, down 1.6% to 1,826p and Naked Wines, down 1.3% to 35.4p. 

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 ended yesterday flat at 7,513.7pts.

Risers included Nichols, up 5.5% to 1,060p, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, up 2.6% to 59.5p, Naked Wines, up 2.4% to 35.9p, McBride, up 2% to 72.4p, PZ Cussons, up 1.8% to 147.2p and DS Smith, up 1.5% to 305p.

Fallers included Pets at Home, down 2.9% to 304.6p, Kerry Group, down 2% to €75.40, SSP Group, down 1.6% to 230.8p, Reckitt Benckiser, down 0.9% to 5,354p and Just Eat, down 0.8% to 1,260p.