Shoppers rein in their spending


Pedestrians on zebra crossing

Shoppers continued to rein in spending last month after figures today showed another subdued month for Britain's retailers.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said November sales volumes rose 0.3% on the previous month, when sales were down by 0.9%.

There were mixed performances from different store types in the run up to Christmas, as a better month for clothing shops was offset by weakness in department stores and petrol stations.

A record 11.9% of all sales were made online during the month, with feedback from department stores suggesting that investment in their internet sites had boosted sales at the expense of store business.

Sales volumes overall were 2% higher on a year earlier but flat on a three-month basis compared with the previous quarter.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said: "With purchasing power being limited by consumer price inflation running well above earnings growth for a prolonged period, it is likely that many people have felt the need to control their spending after spending at a rapid rate in the third quarter."