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Retail Sales Rise Despite Inflationary Pressures

Shopping centre - Shutterstock 237523567 - 725 x 500

ONS data has revealed an unexpected increase in retail sales during April.

Main points: 

  • Retail sales volumes rose by 1.4% in April 2022 following a fall of 1.2% in March 2022 (revised from a fall of 1.4%); sales volumes were 4.1% above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.

  • Looking more broadly, in the three months to April 2022, sales volumes fell by 0.3% when compared with the previous three months; this continues the downward trend since summer 2021.

  • Food store sales volumes rose by 2.8% in April 2022, mostly because of higher spending on alcohol and tobacco in supermarkets; supermarket food sales were broadly unchanged.

  • Non-food stores as a whole saw monthly sales volumes fall by 0.6% in April 2022 but are 2.4% above their pre-coronavirus levels of February 2020.

  • The sub-sector of other non-food stores reported a monthly fall in sales volumes of 3.3% in April 2022 because of large falls in second-hand goods stores, particularly antiques stores and auctioning houses.

  • Household goods stores' sales volumes fell by 0.5% in April 2022 because of falls in furniture and lighting stores (2.4%) and DIY stores (0.8%), which follows increases in these sub-sectors last month.

  • Department stores and clothing stores both reported a monthly increase of 1.3% in sales volumes. Feedback from some retailers suggested that the pick-up in clothing was because of customers booking events such as weddings and holidays.

  • Non-store retailing sales volumes, which are predominantly sales from online-only retailers, rose by 3.7% in April 2022 led by stronger clothing sales.

  • Automotive fuel sales volumes rose by 1.4% in April 2022 following a fall of 4.2% in March when record increases in petrol prices impacted sales.

  • The proportion of retail sales online rose to 27.0% in April 2022 from 25.9% in March and remains substantially higher than the 19.9% in February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic.

Source : ONS 

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20 May 2022

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

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Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.
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