Sold! Auction houses and clothes shoppers lift UK retail sales

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LONDON (Reuters) -Auction houses and shoppers seeking new clothes for the Christmas holidays lifted British retail sales last month by more than expected, adding to recent signs that a slowdown in the economy might have abated slightly.

Retail sales volumes rose by 0.8% month-on-month in October, the Office for National Statistics said. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a 0.5% month-on-month increase in sales volumes.

The biggest contribution to non-food retail sales growth came from second-hand goods stores, with auction houses a particular driver, as well as charity shops.

“Clothing stores reported an increase of 6.2% over the month with feedback from some retailers suggesting that early Christmas trading had boosted sales,” the ONS said.

British public sector net borrowing, excluding state banks, totalled 18.799 billion pounds ($25.38 billion) in October, separate ONS figures showed on Friday, above economists’ average forecast in a Reuters poll of 13.8 billion pounds.

The public sector net cash requirement leapt to 61.452 billion pounds in October from 6.061 billion pounds in September, driven by an expansion of the Bank of England’s Term Funding Scheme to support lending.

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