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UK Retail Sales Growth Tops Expectations

UK retail sales logged a stronger-than-expected growth in October suggesting that consumers started Christmas shopping earlier this year, further helped by early discounting from a range of stores, data released by the Office for National Statistics showed Friday.

Retail sales grew 1.2 percent on month in October, following a 1.4 percent rise logged in September. Economists had forecast a marginal 0.1 percent increase. This was the sixth consecutive rise in sales volume.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales growth came in at 1.3 percent versus a 1.5 percent gain a month ago. The volume was expected to edge up 0.1 percent in October. Predominantly food store sales advanced 3.1 percent and non-food store sales gained 1.9 percent.

Sales volume including auto fuel grew at a pace of 5.8 percent annually, faster than September's 4.6 percent increase and economists' forecast of 4.2 percent.

Excluding auto fuel, annual growth in retail sales volume improved to 7.8 percent from 6.4 percent a month ago. Economists were expecting a 5.9 percent rise for October.

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