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UK retail sales figures disappoint

Just as momentum was gathering behind hopes of a recovery in the UK economy in the short to medium term, it was revealed that retail sales in November fell by 0.3% month on month. This is a significant difference to the 0.4% increase forecast by many analysts and coming on top of October's 0.6% rise (which was revised upwards from 0.4%) it is a bitter blow to the sector.

Year on year sales in the UK retail sector are still 3.1% up although they have slowed significantly from the corresponding figure of 3.7% seen in October. The Office for National Statistics is suggesting that the fall in retail sales is directly related to subdued sales in the department store sector and reduced demand for clothing. However, there is no getting away from the fact that after a relatively upbeat couple of months the UK retail sector would appear to be showing a mixed performance at best.

As we have said on numerous occasions, at this moment in time it very much seems as though the UK economy is taking one step forward and two steps back and analysts and investors are receiving very mixed signals. The festive period will be vital for the UK retail sector although it looks as though it has not got off to the best of starts.

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