Latest sales figures from BDO's High Street Sales Tracker for the week ending November 22nd show overall like for likes continuing to rise.
Total sales were up 3.7 per cent, with the homewares sector in particular enjoying its fastest rate of growth since August. The category rose 14.2 per cent, with the furniture and textiles sectors the most positive, helped by promotions and early signs that consumers are bringing forward purchases in order to beat the VAT increase.
It was something of a lacklustre week for non fashion retailers (down 1.0 per cent), although the fashion category rose 3.7 per cent, its seventh positive week in a row.
"We are continuing to see reasonably good sales in the weeks before Christmas, with many retailers outperforming the depressed expectations assumed at the start of the year," said Don Williams, head of retail at BDO LLP. "Though consumers remain guarded, with gains being made against very poor results in 2008, we are inclined to believe that the positive momentum will continue throughout the critical holiday period."