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ONS & BRC: Retail Sales See Growth In May

Couple walking with shopping bags shutterstock_130030334 MJTH 725 x 500

The ONS has published retail sales data for May, covering the four weeks 28 April 2024 to 25 May 2024. 

  • Retail sales volumes (quantity bought) rose by 2.9% in May 2024, following a fall of 1.8% in April 2024 (revised from a fall of 2.3%). Over the year to May 2024, volumes rose by 1.3%, and were 0.5% below their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic level in February 2020.

  • Sales volumes rose across most sectors, with clothing retailers and furniture stores rebounding following poor weather in April.

  • More broadly, sales volumes rose by 1.0% in the three months to May 2024 when compared with the previous three months. However, they fell by 0.2% when compared with the three months to May 2023.

  • Non-food stores sales volumes (the total of department, clothing, household, and other non-food stores) rose by 3.5% in May 2024. This was the largest monthly rise since April 2021, and follows a fall of 3.0% in April 2024. Within non-food stores, there was strong monthly growth for clothing and footwear retailers, furniture stores, and sports equipment, games and toys stores. These retailers reported improved footfall, better weather, and the impact of promotions.

  • Our Consumer price inflation, UK: May 2024 bulletin reported that prices of furniture and household goods fell by 1.8% in the year to May 2024. This was the lowest annual rate since December 2000.

  • The Met Office climate summaries reported that May 2024 was the warmest on record, in a series going back to 1884.

  • Non-store retailers, which are predominantly online retailers, rose by 5.9% on the month. This was the largest monthly increase and index level since April 2022. Commodity breakdown data indicated that the increase in May 2024 was because of strong clothing and other non-food sales.

  • The amount spent online, known as online spending values, rose by 5.4% during May 2024, and by 4.1% over the year.

  • Total spend (the sum of in-store and online sales) showed a smaller 3.3% rise during the month, resulting in the proportion of sales made online increasing from 26.7% in April 2024 (revised from 26.5%) to 27.2% in May 2024.

BRC Commentary

Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed sales up 2.1% by value, and up 1.2% by volume, Kris Hamer, Director of Insight at the British Retail Consortium, said:

“The record warmth of May led to a small recovery in retail sales for the month. Larger retailers outperformed small retailers, with clothing and footwear particularly benefitting from the change in temperatures. Nonetheless, sales volumes still remain below their 2021 levels. Retailers hope that the recent start of Euro 2024 should further improve spending in snacks, alcohol, and TVs for June’s figures – and if England can win their final game and move forward to Round of 16 , it might give consumer confidence the boost it needs.

“With the election less than two weeks away, retailers look forward to working with the next government to understand how they can support an industry that unlocks over £460bn in consumer spending a year. Including the retail supply chain, the industry supports jobs for almost 20% of the workforce, meaning that improving consumer confidence and unlocking consumer spending is vital for jobs and investment right across the UK.”

Source : ONS, BRC

Image : shutterstock / 130030334 / MJTH 

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21 June 2024

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