Auction houses and shoppers seeking new clothes for the Christmas holidays lifted British retail sales last month by more than expected, adding to recent signs that a slowdown in the economy might have abated slightly, Reuters reported. Retail sales volumes rose by 0.8% month-on-month in October, the Office for National Statistics said. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a 0.5% increase. Retail sales are now 5.8% above the level of February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Auction houses were an especially strong driver of retail sales growth in October, the ONS said. Separate data showed that the government borrowed more than expected last month although borrowing for the year to date is more than 100 billion pounds below its level in April-October 2020, when the economy felt the full force of the pandemic. Read more.