Retail sales were much stronger than expected last month rising 0.3% in November compared to October, leaving them 3.2% higher than November 2005
City economists had forecast a rise of just 0.1% and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revised October's figure to show a 1% month-on-month gain from September but underlying growth remains modest compared with the average over the last few years.
However, the data also showed that prices on the High Street rose last month for the third month in a row - the longest run of rises since the spring of 1999 and this will add further ammunition to the bank of England for an interest rate rise.
There was broad sales growth in all sectors last month except food stores, where sales fell 0.2% on the month and recorded their weakest 3-month/3-month performance in three and a half years.
Non-bricks and mortar retailing, which includes mail order and internet sales, leapt just under 3% on the month although the sector still only accounts for 5% of total sales.
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Office of National Statisitics