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British Retail Sales Rise At Slower Pace Before Christmas

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British retail sales have risen at a slower pace in November compared with the previous month. The Office for National Statistics said Thursday sales climbed by 0.3 percent from October. The ONS said October’s data was revised up to show a 1.0-percent rise from the previous estimate of 0.9 percent.

Retail sales were 3.2 percent higher in November compared to a year earlier.

Analysts’ consensus forecasts had been for a monthly gain of 0.1 percent and annual rise of 3.0 percent in November.

A closer inspection of the monthly figures showed that food store sales, just fewer than 50 percent of the total, fell by 0.2 percent, while non-food sales rose 0.4 percent.

Howard Archer at Global Insight said the November results were “relatively modest”.

According to Archer, the retail sales data was unlikely to undermine expectations that interest rates are headed higher in the first quarter of 2007, especially as the Bank of England will remain on alert over inflation.

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