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UK retail sales were up 0.6% like-for-like in November, driven by a strong rise in total food sales as Black Friday failed to boost general merchandise sales.

Overall retail sales growth of 0.6% on a like-for-like basis compares to a decrease 0.4% from the preceding year.

On a total basis, sales rose 1.3%, against a 0.7% increase in November 2015.

Over the three-months to November, food sales were flat on a like-for-like basis but increased 1.5% on a total basis, which is clearly ahead of the 12-month total average growth of 0.7%.

Three month non-food retail sales in the UK rose 1.5% on a like-for-like basis and 1.7% on a total basis. This is faster than the 12-month total average growth of 1.4% and the highest non-food 3-month average total growth since March.

Online sales grew 10.7% while in-store sales declined 0.8% on a total basis and 1.1% on a like-for-like basis.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium said: “November saw total sales up 1.3 per cent over the previous year, with Food the biggest contributor to growth. Whilst the figure isn’t spectacular, it’s a pretty solid performance in what has been a challenging year for sales in the UK.

“November plays host to Black Friday, which over the past few years has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year. This year’s event was expected to be the biggest yet, and our figures confirm that the week including Black Friday saw non-food sales up around 40% compared with the other weeks of the month. However, compared to last year there was more of a shift of spending from earlier in the month, with sales down on last year in the weeks prior to the 25th November.”

Morning update

Real Good Food (RGD) has released its interim results for the six months ending 30 September 2016.

The cakes, food ingredients and premium bakery group saw total sales growth by 5% in the first half to £49m, driven by the performance of bakery and the integration of Chantilly into the group.

Gross profit increased from £12.5m last year to £13m, but was impacted adversely by performance of food ingredients which struggled with volatile commodity pricing and adverse currency movements.

Total Group EBITDA was down by £0.8m from the previous year to £1.2m, reflecting its investment in a US development centre, while the company recorded a headline loss of £0.2m before exceptional items (which totalled £0.7m).

The group also reported a “substantial” increase in actuarial losses of pension scheme of £3.3m over the six month period.

However, it said third quarter trading had been in line with expectations and the majority of its profits are weighted towards the second half of the year.

Pieter Totté, executive chairman commented: “We have continued to make good progress on developing our growth strategies in each business division. With the exception of Garrett Ingredients where the dairy and sugar markets have continued to be difficult, exacerbated by recent currency fluctuations, trading performance has been broadly in line with the Board’s expectations.

“Sales trends for the key third quarter are in line with expectations to date and we anticipate significant year on year growth in EBITDA in the second half. However, we face some challenges due to the recent weakening of sterling and increased raw material prices and the timing of price recovery. This, as well as the uncertainty in commodity pricing in particular at Garrett Ingredients, means that, while we expect our year end EBITDA to be ahead of last year, there is a risk that it could fall short of current market estimates.”

Elsewhere this morning, Hilton Food Group (HFG) has announced that it is to proceed with plans to expand its packing capability in Australia, by constructing a new meat processing facility in Queensland to supply leading Australian retailer Woolworths.

The development is subject to identifying and acquiring the site, government approvals and the negotiation and finalisation of construction and tenure agreements. Hilton’s Australian subsidiary, Hilton Foods Australia, will finance the new food packing facility, with current target for the commencement of production of 2020.

The new facility will be capable of supplying Woolworths stores in Queensland and adjacent areas of New South Wales, with a range of beef, lamb, pork and added value products. It is expected that Hilton’s investment in plant and equipment will be approximately AUS$115m (£67.1m).

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is back down 0.2% to 6,733.1pts.

The market has reacted negatively to Real Good Food’s numbers this morning, with its shares dropping 6.7% back to just 35p.

Other fallers include CARR’s Group (CARR), down 6.1% to 147.7p, Hotel Chocolat (HOTC), down 2.2% to 247p and Total Produce (TOT), down 1.4% to 143p.

Risers so far this morning include Hilton Food Group after news of its Australian expansion, up 3.1% to 605p. Other risers include McColl’s Retail Group (MCLS), up 3.7% to 188.8p, PayPoint (PAY), up 2.8% to 1,008.8p and Applegreen (APGN), up 1.9% to 378p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 stared the week on the front foot, edging up 0.2% to 6,746.8pts.

It was a good day for the grocers after the BRC Nielsen shop price index data shown deflation easing from a 1.2% drop in October to 0.8% in November.

Tesco (TSCO) was up 2.7% to 212.4p, Morrisons (MRW) up 1.4% to 219.6p and Sainsbury’s (SBRY) up 1.1% to 231.5p.

Also on the up were food retailers Ocado (OCDO), up 1.2% to 265.8p and Marks & Spencer (MKS), up 1.4% to 331.7p.

The day’s fallers included Cranswick (CWK), down 2.2% to 2,182p, Compass Group (CPG) down 1.4% to 1,322p, Greene King (GNK), down 1.3% to 663.5p and Majestic Wine (WINE), down 2% to 300p.