This contrasts with a 3.6 per cent rise in sales in garden centres driven by plants, catering and seeds and bulbs (see more in Horticulture Week 9 December).
Overall, retail sales were up only 0.7 per cent, against a 2.8 per cent increase in November 2010. On both measures, sales performance was the weakest since May, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Food sales growth was little changed from October’s five-month low. Non-food sales fell further below their year-earlier level, with sales largely promotion-led. Clothing and footwear sales were hit by the mild weather, as well as by underlying uncertainty about jobs and incomes.
Consumer caution continued to hit big-ticket homewares and furniture purchases most. Non-food non-store (internet, mail-order and phone) sales growth fell back in November after picking up in October. Sales were 8.6% up on a year ago, the weakest since March and half the previous November’s increase.
Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said:
"There’s a worrying lack of cheer in these figures. The weakest increase in sales for six months suggests consumers are keeping a tight rein on their spending, despite Christmas being so near."