UK retail sales fell back 0.6% in November, amid a continued slump in non-food sales.
The Office of National Statistics found the quantity of goods bought in November fell 0.6% compared to the previous month, with only household goods stores reporting growth.
In the three months to November 2019, the quantity bought in retail sales decreased by 0.4% when compared with the previous three months, which marked the first three-monthly decline since April 2018.
Rhian Murphy, head of retail sales at the ONS, said: “All main sectors saw their sales fall with the exception of food stores.
“The spending dip in November was the fourth consecutive month to see no growth.”
The data did include Black Friday sales, which fell outside the reporting period.
Year-on-year growth in the quantity bought increased by 1.0% in November 2019, which is the lowest growth since April 2018, owing to a decline of 1.1% in non-food stores.
Food stores saw a 0.5% growth in the volume of sales over the three month period, compared to a 0.3% decline in predominantly non-food stores.
In value terms retail spending fell 0.3% over the three month period.
Aled Patchett, head of retail and consumer goods at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, commented: “It’s disappointing that early discounting was not enough to get consumers spending to boost the coffers of many retailers in November.
“Instead, these figures add to the impression that 2019 has been a slow burn in terms of market growth. Against this backdrop, we can expect to see retailers seeking change to drive growth and we anticipate many will be diversifying further in 2020. Offering a mix of new services both in-store and online will support the continued refinement and improvement of their omnichannel strategies.”
Duncan Brewer, retail expert and partner at management consultancy Oliver Wyman, added. “The general euphoria of a conservative majority and a better exchange rate for the Pound may lead to more spending over Christmas and in the New Year.
“But this will likely only be short-lived. Despite more temporary political stability and low unemployment, we expect that at least two major well-loved British retailers will go bust over the course of next year, and that 100,000 jobs will be cut across the sector due to a combination of overall stagnated spending, cost-cutting and increased automation.”