Table of contents
- Main points
- Statistician’s comment
- Things you need to know about this release
- Main figures for total retail sales
- Month-on-month sector summary and contributions to growth
- How has the weather impacted sales?
- What’s the story in online sales?
- Links to related statistics
- Quality and methodology
- In the three months to March 2018 (Quarter 1), the quantity bought in retail sales fell by 0.5% when compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2017, with declines in all sectors except for department stores and non-store retailing.
- The month-on-month growth rate fell by 1.2% due to a large fall of 7.4% from petrol sales; a likely consequence of adverse weather conditions, which impacted travel.
- Department stores were the only sector to show positive growth in March at 0.8%, with feedback from retailers suggesting that online offers for Mothering Sunday and Easter boosted internet sales more than usual during the adverse weather.
- The quantity bought in supermarket stores declined in March, while specialist food stores saw strong growth; possibly due to the easier access to these stores during snow.
- Online sales accounted for 17.4% of all retailing, seasonally adjusted in March 2018, compared with 15.9% in March 2017; the strongest growth on the same month a year earlier came from department stores at 33%.
This bulletin presents estimates of the quantity bought (volume) and amount spent (value) in the retail industry for the period 25 February 2018 to 31 March 2018.
Improvements to the deflators derived from consumer price inflation data have resulted in negligible revisions to total retail sales from 2012 onwards.
Please note that these changes do not impact the results published in the consumer price inflation statistical release.
Unless otherwise stated, the estimates in this release are seasonally adjusted.
The Retail Sales Index (RSI) measures the value and volume of retail sales in Great Britain on a monthly basis.
Data are collected from businesses in the retail industry and the survey’s results are used to produce seasonally adjusted monthly, quarterly and annual estimates of output in the retail industry at current price and at chained volume measures (removing the effect of inflation).
Unless otherwise stated, all estimates included in this release are based on seasonally adjusted data.
The RSI is an important economic indicator and one of the earliest short-term measures of economic activity.
It is used in the compilation of the national accounts and widely used by private and public sector institutions, particularly by the Bank of England and Her Majesty’s Treasury to assist in informed decision and policy-making.
Summary information can be found in the RSI Quality and Methodology Information report.
Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.1.0.