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Retail Sales methodology and articles

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

2014

Revisions to the Retail Sales Index 2014 (100 Kb Pdf)
The Retail Sales Work Plan 2014 (87.3 Kb Pdf)

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

A quick guide to Internet Sales (106.3 Kb Pdf)
A quick guide to the Retail Sales Index (117.1 Kb Pdf)

2013

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

2011

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)

2010

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)

2009

Quality and Methodology Information Report for Retail Sales Index (93.5 Kb Pdf)

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

Changes to the Retail Sales Methodology (124.3 Kb Pdf)

2008

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)

2007

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)

2003

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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