An auction at Cheffins in Cambridgeshire.

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When the Office for National Statistics released its bulletin for October's retail sales results last Friday it noted that although overall sales were up just 0.8% month on month in October, the main sector that grew is called 'non-food stores'.

This sector enjoyed a monthly sales volumes rise of 4.2% last month. And within that sector, a sub-sector that the ONS calls 'other non-food stores' reported the fastest rise in sales of all: 7.2%.

Businesses whose sales contribute to 'other non-food stores' figures include art and antiques firms. The ONS says "second-hand goods stores (charity shops and auction houses) had the largest contribution" ahead of sports equipment, games and toy stores.

Generally, the uplift in non-food retailing received a boost from what is believed to be early Christmas shopping, with some people concerned about potential supply chain shortages looking to get their gift purchasing done early. This may bode well for auction houses holding jewellery, watches and silver sales over the next two to three weeks - a busy time of year in the auction calendar.