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Sales Slowdown in November Reported

20 December 2019 - 13:27 by Mike Price

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Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that shoppers in the UK were less liberal with their spending in the first three weeks of November leading up to Black Friday than during the course of the previous month.

This suggests that the pre-Christmas sales bonanza does indeed drive down demand as shoppers look to save cash in anticipation of being able to bag a bargain.

Report spokesperson Rhian Murphy said that this was the first time in over a year that month-on-month sales took a downturn, with only food sales able to secure some growth in November.

Indeed, the past four months have been problematic for UK retail, with activity both on the high street and in the world of safe shopping online failing to gain momentum.

There are other factors which make Black Friday such an important period for outlets and brands of all kinds, with its timing meaning that many people were actually paid their monthly wage over the course of the so-called cyber weekend. This is expected to have contributed to the slower sales earlier in the month as much as anything else.

The ONS report also found that there was a 2.6 per cent rise in e-commerce sales in November compared with the same month in 2018, which is at least a sign of growth being a possibility, even if it is at a far lower level than has been seen in previous years.

There was a time when double-digit growth in online sales was entirely normal; indeed, up until very recently this sector of the market was still buoyant, with some arguing that this came at the expense of the high street. Now with ongoing economic uncertainty, consumer spending is down in all areas, online and on the high street.