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London retail sales surge ahead of Christmas

London retailers posted their best sales for more than three years in November, raising hopes ahead of Christmas.

Retail sales in central London in November were 13.3% higher on a like-for-like basis than a year ago, when sales had fallen 0.4%, as financial turmoil hit consumer confidence – especially in the City.

Retail footfall in November rose against the year, to record the best growth since June 2009. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), unseasonably mild weather with widespread discounts attracted shoppers into the capital. 

Sales of clothing and footwear and fashion accessories performed well and the Sterling’s weakness, although less marked than last year, continued to attract overseas visitors, especially those from Western Europe.

Visitors from the Middle East, China and Hong Kong also drove sales.  

Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: “These are great figures - the best sales growth for three years. Remember that this strong growth is compared with sales falls a year ago and many retailers are using promotional events and price cuts to get customers spending but these figures show London retailers have had a very encouraging start to Christmas with even big ticket items doing well.”

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