UK retail sales rise by 5.3% year-on-year

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Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released on Friday indicate that the UK’s retail industry is strengthening, with year-on-year estimates of the quantity bought in the retail industry during December 2013 showing an increase of 5.3%, compared with December 2012. The data also revealed that when comparing the 12 months of 2013 with the 12 months of 2012, the retail volume rose by 1.6% in 2013.

The ONS Statistical Bulletin: Retail Sales for December 2013 provides estimates of the quantity bought (volume) and amount spent (value) in the retail industry for the period 24 November 2013 to 28 December 2013. These figures are seasonally adjusted unless stated otherwise.

According to ONS non-seasonally adjusted data, small stores achieved higher growth year-on-year, increasing by 8.1%, compared with year-on-year growth in large stores of 2.6%. The main contributors to the growth in the amount spent at small stores were non-food retail shops.

Monthly data indicated strong growth in the retail industry, as the quantity bought rose by 2.6%. All types of stores experienced an increase in volume, especially department stores where the quantity bought increased by 8.7%.

The amount spent in the retail industry during December 2013 was up by 2.6%, compared with November 2013. When compared with the same period in the previous year, there was an increase of 6.1%.

Non-seasonally adjusted data revealed that in December 2013, the average weekly spend in the retail industry increased to GBP8.8bn, compared with GBP7.5bn in November 2013 and GBP8.5bn in December 2012.

Seasonally adjusted Internet sales rose by 11.8% in December 2013, compared with the same period twelve months earlier. Compared with November 2013, Internet sales increased by 1.8%. However, non-seasonally adjusted data revealed that online sales decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 11.8% of all retail sales, excluding automotive fuel.

However, the ONS figures for three month-on-three month movement suggest an underlying pattern of weaker growth at 0.4%. Contractions in the amount spent in food stores and petrol stations continued to offset growth in the quantity bought in non-food stores and non-store retailing.

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