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Christmas shopping trends 'are hard to call'

By Josie Clarke

Retail sales in November were slow and distorted by Black Friday, with stores warning that the build-up to Christmas is "the hardest to read in years", according to a report.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said total sales were up 0.7%, compared with a 2.2% rise in November 2014.

Excluding online sales, only two categories - furniture and home accessories - showed growth in stores driven by Black Friday sales, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Black Friday had an "undoubtedly" significant impact on non-food categories, disturbing the build-up to Christmas and leading to 50% higher sales than in the first week of November.

BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said the picture had been mixed across categories, with half seeing growth and the other half a decline. "As consumers and retailers continue to adapt to the changing patterns of omni-channel shopping, where the lines between channels become less and less relevant, this build-up to Christmas is one of the hardest to read in years," she added.

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