Early Christmas shopping helps boost retail sales

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Early Christmas shopping and discounting by stores helped to lift UK retail sales in October, the latest official figures have indicated.

Sales rose by 1.2% last month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, the sixth month in a row that sales have increased.

Retailers said some shoppers appeared to have started Christmas shopping early ahead of new Covid restrictions.

Online stores did well, but clothing sales weakened, the ONS said.

Deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said: "Despite the introduction of some local lockdowns in October, retail sales continued its recent run of strong growth.

"Feedback from shops suggested some consumers may have brought forward their Christmas shopping, ahead of potential further restrictions. Online stores also saw strong sales, boosted by widespread offers.

"However, the slow recovery in clothing sales has stalled after five consecutive months of increased sales."

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