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ONS: Retail Sales Up 1.6% on Previous Quarter

Couple walking with shopping bags shutterstock_130030334 725 x 500.jpg

The ONS has reported on retail sales in March and for the first quarter of 2019.

Key points:

  • In the three months to March 2019 (Quarter 1), the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 1.6% when compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2018, following sustained growth throughout the first three months of the year.

  • All store types except department stores and household goods stores increased in the quantity bought in the three months to March 2019, when compared with the previous three months.

  • The monthly growth rate in the quantity bought in March 2019 increased by 1.1%, with food stores and non-store retailing providing the largest contributions to this growth.

  • Year-on-year growth in the quantity bought increased by 6.7% in March 2019, the highest since October 2016, with a range of stores noting that the milder weather this year helped boost sales in comparison with the “Beast from the East” impacting sales in March 2018.

  • Department stores were the only store type to decrease in the quantity bought when compared with March 2018, with a fall of 0.3% in March 2019.

  • Online sales as a proportion of all retailing increased to 18.6% in March 2019, from the 18.1% reported in February 2019.

Industry Commentary

Founder and CEO of Yomdel, Andy Soloman, commented:

“Extremely positive signs for a sector that has struggled to keep its head above the water of late due to a combination of escalating ground rents, business rates and a swing in consumer preference towards the convenience of online shopping.

"That said, the online shopping sector continues to grow in size where its proportion of all sales is concerned. While the bricks and mortar space has enjoyed some positive growth, it's important it doesn’t rest on its laurels and continues to innovate and evolve to appeal to the ever-changing taste of the modern day consumer. The traditional department store is particularly in danger of losing relevance on the high street as the only store type to see a decrease year on year.

"However, all in all with yesterday’s inflation numbers being so positive, almost full employment, low mortgage rates and wage growth buoyant, these inspiring retail sales numbers further contribute to what can only be described as a sound economic base”

Source : Insight DIY Team and ONS

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18 April 2019

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