The season of goodwill brings with it some Christmas cheer for retail.

The latest report from the Office of National Statistics revealed a 1% jump in retails sales during the three months to November, and that was the best performance since August 2004.

It would appear the cold weather has helped. Some time ago John Lewis was making all kind of bullish noises, simply because the ‘brrrrrr’ factor was leading to more sales. But, the promise seems to have been fulfilled, and earlier this week, the retailer said sales at its 27 Department stores were up 8.5% so far, and the week to Dec 10 saw a 7.1% rise on last year.

The ONS reported increase, and the anecdotal evidence contrasts with the doom and gloom findings of the CBI’s distributive trades survey and findings from Deloitte. Last month, Deloitte interviewed 1,000 adults in East Anglia and found the average adult expects to spend 3% less on Christmas presents this year, with an average spend of £266. Deloitte extrapolated the results to UK wide, and said this Christmas would see a fall from £15.1bn spent on presents last year to just £14.7bn this.

Conversely, reports from the British Retail Consortium and the Consumer Confidence Index from Nationwide have suggesting a recovery is on the way

But while there is some room for optimism that the High Street is making a recovery, the Retail Highway of cyberspace is enjoying another year of bumper growth.

According to IMRG, Internet shopping is growing at its fastest rate for 22 months, as millions more shoppers migrate online to buy their Christmas goods. The IMRG Index recorded that November’s UK internet sales exceeded £2 billion in one month for the first time ever, a staggering 50% higher than was reported for the same month last year, then an all-time high. Apparently, November’s annual growth rate is more than double the 22% recorded a year ago, and the fastest increase for the month since November 2002, when shoppers spent just £864 million online.

© Investment & Business News 2013