U.K. retail stocks booked solid gains in London Thursday after data showed Britain recorded its strongest retail sales figures in more than a decade last month amid a surge in clothing sales and Halloween and online shopping.
The Office for National Statistics data suggests Brexit has not yet had an impact on individual spending, the U.K. economy has remained strong since the vote to leave the European Union in late June. But the boost in retail sales could be short-lived as the devaluation in the pound since the vote is set to send prices higher.
Sales in October were up 1.9% from a September reading of 0.1%, the ONS said, far outpacing the 0.4% consensus estimate and the highest rate of growth since April 2002.
Textiles, clothing and footwear sales led the gains, with clothing and footwear sales, which account for 12.5% of total sales, increased 5.1%, the largest jump since March 2014.
Retailers stock held up well in London after the release, outpacing gains for the broader FTSE 100, with clothing retailer Next (NXPGY) rising 1.52% and paring part of its year-to-date decline of 29%.
FTSE 250-listed retailer Ted Baker also gained, rising 1.12% on the session after having lost more than 15% since the beginning of the year.
On an annual basis the volume of goods sold increased 7.4% compared with the same month last year. Economists were expecting a 5.4% increase.
"The strong figures this month have been boosted by several factors. Cooler temperatures in October boosted clothing sales as shoppers took their cue to purchase winter clothing, while the supermarkets benefited from Halloween. This has also coincided with the strongest growth in internet sales seen for five years," ONS Senior Statistician Kate Davies said in a statement.
The amount spent online increase 26.8% compared with October 2015 and was up 1.3% from last month.
Prices fell by 0.7% in October, the smallest decrease since July 2014, suggesting that there is an upward pressure on prices due to the fall in the pound since the Brexit vote.