Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

UK retail sales in surprise fall

Shoppers on Oxford Street in London
Sales were boosted by spending during school holidays

UK retail sales fell in November, according to official figures, despite analysts' predictions of a rise.

Sales were down 0.3% according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). That compares with a rise of 0.6% in October.

The ONS blamed a sharp fall in sales at non-specialist retailers, including department stores.

The figures came as a surprise to many economists, who had hoped for consumer spending to fuel economic recovery.

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