Some Black Friday sales may have spread further across the month, says the ONS

Some Black Friday sales may have spread further across the month, says the ONS

Increased clothing discounting due to the UK's lockdown measures resulted in the largest downward contribution to inflation in November, new figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the consumer prices index (CPI) fell to 0.3% in November from 0.7% a month earlier, as retailers cut prices on clothing amid the second coronavirus wave.

Prices for clothing and footwear overall fell by 2.6% between October and November 2020, compared with a rise of 1.0% between the same two months a year ago. The price fall in November this year reflects increased discounting and there have been media reports that some Black Friday sales may have spread further across the month, according to the ONS.

Most of the downward contribution (0.09 percentage points) in this category came from women's clothing, but there was also a downward contribution of 0.06 percentage points from men's clothing.

"The contribution from clothing and footwear to the headline rate has mostly been negative over the last two years," said the ONS. "Within years, prices normally follow a clear seasonal pattern, rising over the period from January to May then falling between May and July as items are placed on sale in preparation for the arrival of autumn product ranges. Prices then tend to rise until further sales in December.

"Throughout 2020, we have seen clothing and footwear prices follow a different pattern compared with previous years. We recorded increased discounting during March and April, probably in response to the lockdown, then prices were relatively stable (compared with previous years) to August. Between August and October, prices broadly increased as usual, but this has been followed by a fall between October and November, whereas prices tend to rise between these two months. This latest fall reflects increased discounting compared with last month."