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Retail Sales

The Retail Sales Index (RSI) measures the value and volume of retail sales in Great Britain on a monthly basis.

The RSI is a key economic indicator and one of the earliest short-term measures of economic activity.

It is used to estimate consumer spending on retail goods and the output of the retail sector, both of which are used in the compilation of the National Accounts.

The main output measures include value and volume estimates, in both seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted forms.

The value estimates reflect the total turnover that businesses have collected over a standard period, while the volume estimates are calculated by taking the value estimates and adjusting to remove the impact of price changes.

The value and volume measures of retail sales estimates are widely used in private and public sector institutions, particularly by the Bank of England and Her Majesty’s Treasury, to assist in informed decision and policy making.

Further information on estimated prices and the value of retail sales by commodity are published alongside the RSI.

Also published is an experimental Internet estimate, which extracts the proportion of retail sales made over the Internet.

There are plans in place to review this experimental index and assess it for designation as a National Statistic status.

Methodology and articles


Improving quality information for the Retail Sales Index (118.6 Kb Pdf)


User Engagement for Retail Sales Statsitics (64.7 Kb Pdf)

Differences between RSI & National Accounts Revisions Policy (53.9 Kb Pdf)
Users and Uses of Short-term Economic Indicators (47 Kb Pdf)
Change to Imputation Method used for the Turnover Question in Monthly Business Surveys (74.4 Kb Pdf)
Revisions to the Retail Sales Index 2014 (100 Kb Pdf)
The Retail Sales Work Plan 2014 (135.9 Kb Pdf)

Retail Sales Index (RSI) and Other Surveys (95.5 Kb Pdf)

A quick guide to Internet Sales (167.6 Kb Pdf)
A quick guide to the Retail Sales Index (195 Kb Pdf)


Updated Accuracy Measures for the Retail Sales Index (29.6 Kb Pdf)


Retail Sales Index 2010 Triennial Review (103.4 Kb Pdf)

Internet Strategy

Measuring the accuracy of the Retail Sales Index - revisions and standard errors (1.04 Mb Pdf)


Frequently Asked Questions for January 2010 (81.6 Kb Pdf)

An experimental measure of Internet Retail Sales: Changes to methods (85.6 Kb Pdf)

Classification changes in retail sales (150.8 Kb Pdf)


Quality and Methodology Information Report for Retail Sales Index (245.6 Kb Pdf)

Frequently asked questions for RSI following methods changes (82.3 Kb Pdf)

Changes to the Retail Sales Methodology (124.3 Kb Pdf)


Decomposing the Retail Sales Index implied price deflator and the CPI (193.7 Kb Pdf)

An experimental measure of Internet retail sales (111.5 Kb Pdf)


Comparing ONS's Retail Sales Index with BRC's retail sales monitor (163.9 Kb Pdf)

Report on the Full Triennial Review of the Retail Sales Inquiry 2007 (2 Mb Pdf)

Retail Sales Index Revisions Policy (47.5 Kb Pdf)


Retail Sales Index Development (31.7 Kb Pdf)

Interpreting Retail Sales Data (68.4 Kb Pdf)

Retail Sales Index Development: Implementation (140.1 Kb Pdf)

Retail Sales Index - A Description of the New Methods (202.5 Kb Pdf)

Rebased Retail Sales Index Data (42 Kb Excel sheet)

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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