There has been an unexpected pick-up in retail sales, which rose in November for the first time in eight months. Figures to be released by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG this week will reveal that like-for-like sales grew by around 0.3 per cent last month compared with last November.

The BRC’s monthly figure was last in positive territory in March. The figures will be welcomed by retailers who feared a pre-Christmas meltdown and fly in the face of last week’s survey from the CBI which suggested that November was the high street’s worst month for 22 years.

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