Retail sales volumes rose by 0.8pc in October as shoppers started their Christmas gift shopping early, official figures show.
The monthly rise included a 4.2pc jump in non-food sales, as people snapped up clothes, toys and sports equipment.
It follows warnings from businesses for consumers to buy early for the festive season amid concerns that supply chain problems will mean less products are available.
5 things to start your day
1) The chief executive of Afiniti, Zia Chishti, has been forced out following sex assault claim.
2) Unilever has sold its tea business, including PG Tips and Lipton, for €4.5bn.
3) France must raise the pension age and cut bloated public spending to get its finances in order, says the OECD.
4) Apple has hit the accelerator on its electric car plans, opting for a fully automated, driverless design.
5) One-third of shops are running short of crisps following a glitch at a Walkers factory.
What happened overnight
Asian shares sat out a global rally on Friday as disappointing earnings from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba reinforced worries about slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4pc and was set for a weekly decline of 1pc, even after a solid performance overnight on Wall Street boosted by upbeat corporate earnings. The Nikkei outperformed, however, rising 0.5pc after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a fresh stimulus package with spending worth around 56 trillion yen (£363bn).
Coming up today
- Corporate: Future (Full-year results); Great Portland Estates, Wincanton (Interims); Kingfisher (Trading update)
- Economics: Consumer confidence (UK), retail sales (UK), public sector borrowing (UK)