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Black Friday hit department stores' December sales

Black Friday on November 28 dragged department store sales down 4.5% to their lowest level in 20 years in December, data from the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

The wider impact of the much-criticised US discount day was also spelt out in the latest report from the ONS. This includes a marginal December sales growth of just 0.4% month on month, down from 1.6% in November 2014. It was the lowest December growth since 2012 and was skewed by Christmas shopping being brought forward.

However, the figures show the amount spent in the retail industry during December rose by 1.9% against the same time in 2013, alongside the quantity bought, which was up 4.3% year on year.

The cumulative results for the final three months of 2014 also showed the highest retail sales growth in a decade.

Black Friday led to the lowest-ever ecommerce sales growth during December at just 5%, according to the separate IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index.

The ONS data added that the value of internet sales in December fell by 2.8% compared with November 2014, the largest fall since August 2012, but were up 8% year on year. Online spending accounted for 11.3% of all retail sales in December 2014.

Both independent retailers and multiples that held off discounting fared better in the run-up to Christmas, investigations by Drapers have shown.

The results from the ONS are compiled by a survey of 5,000 retailers, including all large retailers employing 100 people or more.

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