According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), retail sales volumes rose by a better-than-expected 0.3% in October, compared with the previous month, and second-hand goods provided the "largest contribution to this growth".
Kate Davies, ONS senior statistician, said: “We are continuing to see an underlying picture of steady growth in retail sales. Growth month-on-month in October was particularly strong in the second-hand goods sector, which includes auction houses and antique dealers.”
Figures for the three months to October show the quantity bought in shops rose by 0.9% from 0.7% in the three months to September.
Online sales values increased year-on-year by 10.7%, accounting for approximately 16.9% of all retail spending.
Sales for art and antiques auctions have also shown a solid performance in recent months. According to data from thesaleroom.com, the total volume of items sold at auctions run on its website increased 11% for the three months to October 2017 compared with the same period last year. Items sold to online buyers on thesaleroom.com rose by 22%.
By value, the three-month total on thesaleroom.com was up 6% year-on-year with items sold to online buyers up 24%.
Auction Technology Group, publisher of Antiques Trade Gazette, owns thesaleroom.com.