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Retail sales in biggest quarterly decline since 2013

Retail Sales Pic

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), UK Retail Sales declined far more than expected in March 2017, raising worrying signs for Britain's consumer sector.

On a three-month basis, sales fell 1.4%, marking what the ONS called "the third consecutive decrease for the underlying 3 month on 3 month pattern." On a month-to-month basis, sales dropped more than forecast, slipping a huge 1.8%, compared to an expected 0.2% fall.

"Today’s retail sales figures show a decline on the month and on the three months to March, which coincides with quarter 1 in 2017. This is the first time we’ve seen a quarterly decline since 2013, and it seems to be a consequence of price increases across a whole range of sectors," Kate Davies, a senior statistician at the ONS said.

Here's a summary of the key points:-

  • The 3 months to March shows a decrease of 1.4%; the third consecutive decrease for the underlying 3 month on 3 month pattern.
  • Looking at the quarterly movement, the 3 months to March 2017 (Quarter 1) is the first quarterly decline since 2013 (Quarter 4).
  • In March 2017, the quantity bought in the retail industry is estimated to have increased by 1.7% compared with March 2016 and decreased by 1.8% compared with February 2017; decreases are seen across the four main store types.
  • Average store prices (including fuel) increased by 3.3% on the year, the largest growth since March 2012; the largest contribution came from petrol stations, where year-on-year average prices rose by 16.4%.
  • Online sales (excluding automotive fuel) increased year-on-year by 19.5% and by 0.5% on the month, accounting for approximately 15.5% of all retail spending.

The full ONS release can be downloaded here.

Source: Insight DIY & ONS.

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21 April 2017

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