UK retail sales pick up in November helped by clothing
British retail sales rose last month recovering from a fall in October, helped by shoppers buying warm clothes after a mild start to autumn, official data showed on Thursday.
Retail sales volumes were up 0.3 percent on the month, the fastest monthly growth in the month of November since 2010, to show 2.0 percent expansion on the year, the Office for National Statistics said.
Economists in a Reuters poll had expected retail sales to rise 0.3 percent on the month after a fall in October, and for sales to be 2.3 percent higher on the year.
Textiles, clothing and footwear sales volumes jumped 3.8 percent in November from October, the ONS said.
That helped offset a fall of 3.1 percent in department stores sales and weaker fuel sales.
(Read more: UK retail: Gooddata, grim prognosis)
At the same time, a record amount of goods were bought on line, accounting for 11.9 percent of all retail sales, excluding fuel.
Earlier this month, the British Retail Consortium, an industry group, said sales in November made a slow start to the month but picked up as the colder weather prompted consumers to shop for warmer clothes.
(Read more: Online sales 'to hit£5 billion' this Christmas)
On Wednesday, another survey, by the Confederation of British Industry, suggested retail sales rebounded in December as shoppers started splashing out for the Christmas holidays after a weak November and October.
Consumer spending has been under pressure for years as inflation outstripped wage growth.
Data earlier this week showed wages rose less than 1 percent in the three months to October, compared with the same period last year, well short of inflation of 2.1 percent in November.
Yet demand from British consumers remains the main driver of the country's economy. Household consumption contributed 0.5 percentage points to Britain's economic growth of 0.8 percent in the third quarter.
Earlier this week, Dixons Retail, Europe's No. 2 electricals retailer, said it more than doubled its underlying profit over the past six months, helped by demand in Britain for tablet computers.
(Read more: UK retailer Tesco launches cut-price tablet)