Surprise rise in retail sales

There was a surprise increase in retail sales in October, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown.

Retail sales volumes increased by 0.9 per cent, and the value of sales increased by 5.4 per cent, compared to October 2010.

Feedback from retailers suggests that this increase in sales volume and value was a result of pre-Christmas sales and in-store promotions.

The main area responsible for this rise, was non- store retailing, which increased by 11.7 per cent. While smaller stores were more successful than larger, the ONS said:

"Looking at the non-seasonally adjusted year on year all retail sales volume data, small stores i.e. those with employment of less than 100, fared better than large stores, as small stores increased by 5.3 per cent and large stores decreased by 0.3 per cent."

In total, approximately £26.8 billion was spent on retail goods during October 2011, up from £25.4 billion in the same month last year.