Christmas comes early for UK retailers with sales above seasonal norms

By Becky Bargh 26-Nov-2021

November has brought an early Christmas present for high street sellers with a spike in sales growth for the month

November sales were up 35% with figures are predicted to rise in December

UK retailers are celebrating an early Christmas present as sales on the high street soar above seasonal norms.

Not-for-profit members’ organisation CBI found that sales in November were up 35% from -1% in October, and figures are expected to remain high as consumers enter the peak shopping period.

According to data collated for its Distributive Trades Survey from 125 companies including 52 retailers, year-on-year retail sales increased at a faster rate than last month, up 39% from 30% in October, and is expected to pick up again in December to 56%.

“Christmas seems to have come early for retailers, with clothing and department stores in particular seeing a big upward swing in sales volumes in November,” said CBI Lead Economist, Ben Jones.

“It seems likely that reports of supply chain disruptions prompted consumers to start their Christmas shopping early.

“And there are encouraging signs that retailers’ efforts to help avoid any festive disappointments may be paying off, with stock levels seen as adequate for the first time in seven months.”

Jones said that the results show a new found optimism among retailers, after what has been a devastating two years for many.

“Overall, retailers are being more optimistic, with both employment growth and investment intentions picking up strongly,” he added.

“Cost pressures remain a very real concern, however, will selling prices growing at the fastest pace since 1990.”

Online sellers, however, have not had a visit from Father Christmas just yet.

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CBI noted that internet sales fell for the first time in survey history in August 2001, from 7% to -14%, but are predicted to make a comeback next month as shoppers rush to get their Christmas shopping done.