ONS reveals continual growth in retail sales


  • Author: Statistics Views and Kate Davies
  • Date: 17 October 2013
  • Copyright: Image appears courtesy of iStock Photo. Graph appears courtesy of the Office for National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics have today revealed that estimates of retail sales have continued to show growth in the retail industry. In September 2013 the quantity bought increased by 2.2% compared with September 2012 and by 0.6% compared with August 2013. With three month-on-three month growth rates increasing for seven consecutive months these estimates show an underlying trend of growth in the retail industry.

thumbnail image: ONS reveals continual growth in retail sales

Quarter-on-quarter, the quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 1.5%. This is the largest quarter-on-quarter rise since March 2008 when the economy as a whole was at its peak, before the economic downturn.

Of the four main retail sectors, non-food stores and non-store retailing saw an increase in the quantity bought in September 2013 compared with September 2012, with increases of 3.6% and 19.1% respectively. Food stores and petrol stations (including supermarket petrol stations) saw falls in the quantity bought of 0.6% and 2.4% respectively over the same period.

The amount spent in the retail industry continued to increase, in September 2013 the amount spent increased by 3.2% compared with September 2012 and by 0.5% compared with August 2013. Non-seasonally adjusted data show the average weekly spend in September 2013 was £6.8 billion.

As shown above, during the period from 2005 to 2007, sales of non-food and non-store items increased in both volume and value, and prices fell slightly. Sales then fell in both value and volume terms in 2008 and the first part of 2009, with prices generally continuing to fall. The volume of sales then gradually increased through 2009 and 2010. The exception to this was a sharp decrease in January 2010, when heavy snow and an increase in VAT affected sales. Decreasing volumes were also seen in the first half of 2011, but volumes increased thereafter. Prices broadly increased slowly during the period, with some short-term volatility.

Store price inflation as measured by the implied price deflator showed that price increases in the retail industry continued to slow, with average prices increasing 0.9% year on year compared with 1.6% in August 2013.

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