Black Friday sales helped retail sales soar past forecast in November as Britons splashed on household goods, official data released on Thursday (14 December) showed.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), when including auto fuel, retail sales climbed 1.1% month-on-month, compared with analysts' forecast for a 0.4% increase, while the 0.3% increase recorded in October was revised up to 0.5%.
On an annual basis, retail sales grew 1.3%, surging past expectations calling for a 0.3% gain. The previous month's 0.3% decline, meanwhile, was revised up to show no growth.
Sales of household goods stores showed strong growth at 2.9%, while electrical household appliances marked the largest contribution to the growth, boosted by Black Friday sales.
The ONS added the underlying pattern in the retail industry remained one of growth, with retail sales increasing 0.8% in the quarter through to October, compared with the previous three months.
"Underlying retail sales growth remained reasonably strong in the last few months," said Rhian Murphy, ONS Senior Statistician.
"Household goods stores had a good November, with a number of businesses saying that Black Friday promotions boosted sales."
Excluding fuel sales, retail sales grew 1.2% month-on-month, compared with forecasts for a 0.4% gain and with the upwardly revised 0.4% gain recorded last month.
Store prices, meanwhile, increased by 3.1% year-on-year last month, with price increases across all store types, in particular food stores had the largest price increase of 3.6% since September 2013.
The report comes a day after the ONS warned wages continued to lag behind inflation.
Average weekly earnings rose by 2.5% year-on-year, in line with the figure analysts expected, while the previous month's 2.2% gain was revised up to 2.3%.
When excluding bonuses, earnings grew 2.3%, marginally above the 2.2% forecast and the previous month's reading. However, when the impact of inflation is factored in, real weekly wages fell by 0.2%, when including bonuses and by 0.4% when excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier.
Earlier this week, the ONS said inflation climbed to the highest level in over five in and a half years in November, rising 3.1% year-on-year last month, compared with the 3% growth recorded in October and September. The figure was the highest level on record since March 2012 and will force Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to write a letter to the Chancellor explaining why price growth is so far above the BoE's 2% target.