Total retail sales in the UK rose by 2.7% in November 2023 compared with 4.2% growth in November 2022. This was due to rising living costs triggering consumers to rein in spending on non-essential products, said the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

This percentage growth in November 2023 was, however, above the three-month average growth of 2.6%.

Over the three months to November, food sales increased by 7.6% in total – below the 12-month average growth of 8.4%.

During this period, non-food sales declined by 1.6% on a total basis – below the 12-month average growth of 0.5%.

BRC data also shows that in-store non-food sales fell 0.8% on a total basis over the three months to November. The figure is below the 12-month average growth of 0.6%.

In November 2023, the decline in online non-food sales widened to 2.1%, compared with a decline of 0.4% in the same month of 2022.

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By GlobalData

The proportion of non-food items purchased online during the month dropped to 41.4%, from 41.6% in November 2022.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE stated: “Black Friday began earlier this year as many retailers tried to give sales a much-needed boost in November. While this had the desired effect initially, the momentum failed to hold throughout the month, as many households held back on Christmas spending.

“Retailers are banking on a last-minute flurry of festive frivolity in December and will continue working hard to deliver an affordable Christmas for customers so everyone can enjoy some Christmas cheer.

“Looking ahead to 2024, retailers will have to shoulder many new cost pressures, including a rise to business rates, as well as costs from other new regulations. These combined with the biggest rise on record to the national living wage will mean retailers will have less capital to invest in lowering prices for their customers.”

According to the BRC data released in late November 2023, total retail footfall in the UK fell by 0.7% during the month on a year-on-year basis.