Retail sales statistics in Great Britain: May 2017

first estimate of retail sales in volume and value terms

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  1. Main points
  2. Statistician’s comment
  3. Things you need to know about this release
  4. Main figures
  5. Focus on predominantly non-food stores
  6. Year-on-year contribution, total retail
  7. Month-on-month contribution
  8. What’s the story in online sales?
  9. Links to related statistics
  10. Quality and methodology

Main points

  • In May 2017, the quantity bought in the retail industry was estimated to have increased by 0.9% compared with May 2016; the annual growth rate was last lower in April 2013.
  • Non-food stores were the main contributing factors to this slowdown with an annual fall of 1.2% and predominantly food stores saw the lowest annual growth since July 2013 at 0.1%.
  • Month-on-month, the quantity bought was estimated to have fallen by 1.2% following strong growth in April 2017.
  • The underlying pattern, as measured by the 3 month on 3 month change showed growth of 0.6% in May 2017.
  • Average store prices (excluding fuel) increased by 2.8% on the year; the largest growth since March 2012.

Things you need to know about this release

This bulletin presents estimates of the quantity bought (volume) and amount spent (value) in the retail industry for the period 30 April 2017 to 27 May 2017.

Unless otherwise stated, the estimates in this release are seasonally adjusted.

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

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 the 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 a key 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.

Main figures

Table 1 shows the main retail sales growth rates for all retailing for both the value and volume of sales in May 2017.

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