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Statistical bulletin: Retail Sales, June 2012 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 19 July 2012 Download PDF

Key points

  • In June 2012, all retailing sales volumes were estimated to have increased by 1.6 per cent compared with June 2011. Over the same period, all retailing sales values were estimated to have increased by 1.9 per cent.
  • In June 2012, non-seasonally adjusted data shows that small stores fared better than large stores. Sales values at small stores were estimated to have increased by 4.1 per cent compared with June 2011 and large stores were estimated to have increased by 1.2 per cent.
  • The implied deflator which provides an estimate of the prices of goods sold or store price inflation slowed to 0.3 per cent, down from 1.2 per cent in May.
  • The total amount spent in the five week period 27 May 2012 to 30 June 2012 is estimated at £32.7 billion, non-seasonally adjusted, up from £26.4 billion in the four week period of May 2012 and £32.1 billion in June 2011. This equates to an average weekly spend of £6.5 billion in June 2012, £6.6 billion in May 2012 and £6.4 billion in June 2011.
  • The average weekly value for Internet sales was estimated to be £493.3 million, meaning that the proportion of retail sales excluding automotive fuel made via the Internet was 8.5 per cent.

Key figures

Table 1: All retailers, June 2012 (seasonally adjusted percentage change)

  Most recent month on a year earlier Most recent 3 months on a year earlier Most recent month on previous month Most recent 3 months on previous 3 months
Value  1.9 1.8 -0.5 -1.4
Volume 1.6 0.8 0.1 -0.7
Value excluding automotive fuel 2.9 2.5 -0.1 -0.3
Volume excluding automotive fuel 2.2 1.4 0.3 0.1

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The ONS retail sales index is calculated from a sample of 5,000 retailers representing approximately 90 per cent of all known retail activity within Great Britain. The sample contains 900 large retailer’s, i.e. businesses with employment of more than 100 or annual turnover greater than £60 million, and a random sample of smaller retailers.

Retailers in the sample are asked to provide their total retail sales turnover and total turnover for sales made via the Internet for the specified period. The June 2012 period covers the dates 27 May 2012 to 30 June 2012. 

At a glance

In June 2012 the estimated all retail sales volumes index increased by 1.6 per cent compared with June 2011 and increased by 0.1 per cent compared with May 2012.

The estimated all retail sales value index increased by 1.9 per cent in June 2012 compared with June 2011 and decreased by 0.5 per cent compared with May 2012.

Store price inflation slowed to 0.3 per cent, its lowest rate since October 2009. The Consumer Prices Index slowed to 2.4 per cent in June, its lowest rate since November 2009.

All retailing

Figure 1 shows the seasonally adjusted index level for all retailing sales volumes and values. Also shown is the index level for store price inflation. Sales values can be viewed as how much was spent on the goods sold by the retail sector; this includes for example clothes, food, and petrol. An increase in sales values could be down to an increase in the prices of goods sold, an increase in the amount bought or a combination of both. To estimate the amount of goods bought, commonly referred to as volume, the value series is adjusted to remove the effect of price changes.

Figure 1, All retailing (seasonally adjusted) and store price inflation

Figure 1, All retailing (seasonally adjusted) and store price inflation

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We can see from the chart that from September 2006 store price inflation rose and follows a similar path to all retailing sales values, suggesting that the increase in sales values since this date may be a consequence of rising prices.

In June 2012, all retailing sales volumes were estimated to have increased by 1.6 per cent compared with June 2011 and sales values were estimated to have increased by 1.9 per cent over the same period. The estimate of store price inflation was 0.3 per cent.

Comparing June 2012 with May 2012, sales volumes increased by 0.1 per cent and sales values decreased by 0.5 per cent. Between May and June 2012 the estimated prices of goods sold within the retail sector fell by 1.3 per cent.

Contributing factors to the June 2012 retail sales values and volumes

There were several factors that may have contributed to the retail sales value and volume estimates across the different sectors in June 2012. These include:

  • the slowing of store price inflation,

  • the weather,

  • the bank holiday changes for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. 

Store price inflation

One of the main sources of increases in retail value and volume in June 2012 came from reduced store prices between May and June 2012 in the textile, clothing and footwear sector. Figure 2, shows the seasonally adjusted index level for sales values and volumes for the textile, clothing and footwear sector. Also shown is the index level for store price inflation for this sector. 

Figure 2, Textile, clothing and footwear stores (seasonally adjusted) and store price inflation

Figure 2, Textile, clothing and footwear stores (seasonally adjusted) and store price inflation

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Concentrating on the most recent periods, in June 2012, sales volumes increased by 2.5 per cent compared with May 2012 and sales values increased by 1.2 per cent. Feedback from retailers suggests that the increase in sales volumes was a result of promotions and retailers brought forward summer sales due to the unseasonal weather. The estimated price of goods sold within these stores fell by 3.5 per cent compared with May 2012 and by 0.3 per cent compared with June 2011, contributing to the downward pressure to all retailing store price inflation. 

Weather

In contrast to growth in sales volume and value within the textile, clothing and footwear sector, the food sector experienced contraction in sales volumes and values; a contributing factor here was the weather. In June 2012 the weather was dominated by low pressure that brought cool days, large rainfall totals and some strong winds. There was an almost complete absence of warm settled spells. Taken from the June 2012 UK overview, Met Office.

Feedback from food store retailers suggests that the weather impacted on sales. The sales volume estimates in this sector decreased by 0.7 per cent compared with June 2011 and by 0.7 per cent compared with May 2012. Sales values increased by 1.5 per cent compared with June 2011 and decreased by 1.1 per cent compared with May 2012 as store price inflation in this sector slowed to 2.2 per cent.

Jubilee

For the Diamond Jubilee celebrations the end of May bank holiday was moved to June and an additional bank holiday added to the June reporting period. The figures within this release suggest that this event appears not to have had a significant impact on retail sales.

In June 2002, when the Golden Jubilee celebrations were held and an extra bank holiday was added to the reporting period, sales volumes were estimated to have fallen by 1.8 per cent compared with May 2002 and sales values fell by 2.0 per cent compared with May 2002.

Retail Sales in detail

The Retail Sales Index (RSI) measures spending (value) and volume of retail sales in Great Britain. Figures are adjusted for seasonal variations unless otherwise stated and the reference year for both value and volume statistics is 2009=100. For an explanation of the terms used in this bulletin, please see the background notes section. Care should be taken when using the month-on-month growth rates due to their volatility; an assessment of the quality of the retail statistics is available in the background notes.

Table 2: Seasonally Adjusted Year-on-Year Growth Rates and Contribution to all Retailing by Sector

per cent
  Weight as a percentage of all retailing Year-on-year growth in retail sales volumes Contribution to year-on-year growth in all retail sales volumes Year-on-year growth in retail sales values Contribution to year-on-year growth in all retail sales values
All retailing  100.0 1.6 1.9
           
Predominantly food stores 41.3 -0.7 -0.3 1.5 0.6
           
Predominantly non-food stores          
Total 41.6 4.1 1.9 3.7 1.5
Non-specialised stores 7.8 9.8 0.8 8.6 0.7
Textile, clothing and footwear stores 12.3 2.4 0.4 2.2 0.3
Household goods stores 8.8 1.6 0.2 1.8 0.2
Other stores 12.7 4.2 0.5 3.4 0.4
           
Non-store retailing 5.3 8.5 0.5 7.4 0.4
           
Automotive fuel 11.8 -4.6 -0.5 -5.2 -0.6

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Amount spent in retail

In the five week period of June 2012 the total non-seasonally adjusted value of spending in the retail sector was estimated to be £32.7 billion. This compares with £26.4 billion in the four weeks of May 2012 and £32.1 billion in the five weeks of June 2011.

This equates to an average weekly spend of £6.5 billion in June 2012, £6.6 billion in May 2012 and £6.4 billion in June 2011.

Internet sales

Key points

  • Average weekly Internet sales values (non-seasonally adjusted) in June 2012 were estimated to be £493.3 million, an increase of 14.3 per cent when compared with June 2011.

  • Internet sales were estimated to account for 8.5 per cent of all retail sales values excluding automotive fuel.

  • The non-store retailing sector had the largest proportion of Internet sales in June 2012 and accounted for 62.0 per cent of all sales in this sector, up from 57.0 per cent in June 2011. The food sector had the lowest proportion of Internet sales and accounted for 3.2 per cent, up from 2.7 per cent a year earlier.

Internet sales in detail

The Internet sales measure how much has been spent online through retailers in Great Britain. Figures are non-seasonally adjusted and the reference year is 2010=100. The table below shows the year-on-year growth rates for total Internet sales, by sector and the contribution that each sector makes to total Internet sales.

Table 3: Internet sales summary of performance for June 2012

Category Weight Year on year growth Contribution to year on year growth
All retailing 100 14.3 :
All food 17.3 18.2 3.1
All non-food 41.4 10.1 4.2
  Department stores 7.0 16.4 1.1
  Textile, clothing and footwear stores 11.7 16.4 1.9
  Household goods stores 8.2 16.7 1.4
  Other stores 14.5 -2.0 -0.3
Non-store retailing 41.3 16.7 6.9

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Sector analysis

Predominantly food stores sales volumes in June 2012 fell by 0.7 per cent when compared with June 2011. Over the same period the value of sales increased by 1.5 per cent. Average price inflation in predominantly food stores was 2.2 per cent in the year to June 2012. This is the lowest since June 2010 (2.0 per cent).  This is similar to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) for food and non-alcoholic beverages, where prices increased by 2.3 per cent in June 2012, compared with June 2011.

In June 2012 the estimated average weekly sales were £2.7 billion, more than any other sector; of this, 3.2 per cent of sales (£87.6 million) were made via the Internet.

Predominantly non-food stores sales volumes in June 2012 increased by 4.1 per cent compared with June 2011 while the value of sales increased by 3.7 per cent. Average prices showed deflation of 0.5 per cent in the year to June 2012.

In June 2012 the estimated average weekly sales were £2.7 billion; of this, 7.0 per cent of sales (£189.5 million) were made via the Internet.

Non-specialised stores sales volumes increased by 9.8 per cent in June 2012 when compared with June 2011. The increase in volumes reflects price deflation of 1.4 per cent; the largest fall since January 2009 when prices fell by 2.1 per cent. The value of sales increased by 8.6 per cent in the year to June 2012, which is the highest since January 2011 (10.5 per cent).

In June 2012 the estimated average weekly sales were £0.5 billion; of this, 7.4 per cent of sales (£38.4 million) were made via the Internet.

Textile, clothing and footwear stores sales volumes in June 2012 increased by 2.4 per cent when compared with June 2011. Sales values grew by 2.2 per cent over the same period. This sector saw price deflation of 0.3 per cent in the year to June 2012, this is the largest fall in prices since the year to August 2010 (0.8 per cent).

In June 2012 the estimated average weekly sales were £0.8 billion; of this, 7.9 per cent of sales (£63.2 million) were made via the Internet.

Household goods stores sales volumes rose by 1.6 per cent in June 2012 compared with June 2011. The value of sales rose by 1.8 per cent over the same period. Average prices were estimated to show inflation of 0.5 per cent.

In June 2012 the estimated average weekly sales were £0.6 billion; of this, 5.3 per cent of sales (£29.5 million) were made via the Internet.

Other stores sales volumes increased by 4.2 per cent in the year to June 2012. Sales values increased by 3.4 per cent over the same period. Average prices were estimated to have fallen by 0.7 per cent in the year to June 2012.

In June 2012 the estimated average weekly sales were £0.8 billion; of this, 7.0 per cent of sales (£58.4 million) were made via the Internet.

Non-store retailing sales volumes increased by 8.5 per cent in June 2012 compared with June 2011. Sales values increased by 7.4 per cent over the same period. Average price deflation was estimated to be 1.3 per cent in the year to June 2012, the largest fall since September 2009 (1.4 per cent).

In June 2012 the estimated average weekly sales were £0.3 billion; of this, 62.0 per cent of sales (£216.2 million) were made via the Internet.

Predominantly automotive fuel stores sales volumes decreased by 4.6 per cent compared with June 2011. Sales values decreased by 5.2 per cent over the same period. Average prices were estimated to have decreased by 1.1 per cent in the year to June 2012, the largest fall since October 2009 (0.7 per cent).

In June 2012 the estimated average weekly sales were £0.7 billion.

Distribution analysis

Table 4 illustrates the mix of experiences among different sized retailers. It shows the distribution of reported changes in sales values of businesses in the RSI sample, ranked by size of business (based on number of employees). This table shows for example, that the largest retailers, with 100 or more employees, reported an average increase in sales of 2.3 per cent between June 2011 and June 2012.

Table 4: Change in Reported Retail Sales Values between June 2011 and June 2012 Standard Reporting Periods (by size of business)

per cent
Number of employees Weights Growth since June 2011
100+ 77.9 2.3
40-99 2.2 -25.6
10-39 6.5 14.2
0-9 13.4 -2.0

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Analysis of individual returns from businesses

The reference table, Analysis of Individual Returns from Businesses (30.5 Kb Excel sheet) ,  shows the extent to which individual businesses experienced actual changes in their sales between June 2011 and June 2012. The table contains information only from businesses that reported in June 2011 and June 2012. Cells with values less than 10 are suppressed for some classification categories; this is denoted by n.a. Note that ‘large’ is defined as 100+ employees and 10–99 employees with annual turnover of more than £60 million, while ‘small and medium’ is defined as 0–99 employees. 

Background notes

  1. Improvements to be introduced next month

    There are no planned improvements to retail sales estimates next month.

  2. What’s New

    • The estimates contained in this Retail Sales release incorporate a rebase of the indices to 2009 = 100 to align with National Accounts outputs.

    • As part of the celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee there were changes to bank holidays in May and June 2012 . The late May bank holiday, which would have fallen in the RSI June trading period, has been moved to the calendar month of June and an additional day’s holiday has been added. The change to the holidays will count as a statistical special event in line with ONS’s policy on Special Events (209.3 Kb Pdf) .

  3. Understanding the data

    1.  Quick Guide to the Retail Sales Index (116.9 Kb Pdf)

    2. Interpreting the data

    • The Retail Sales Index (RSI) is derived from a monthly survey of 5,000 businesses in Great Britain. The sample represents the whole retail sector and includes all large retailers and a representative panel of smaller businesses. Collectively all of these businesses cover approximately 95 per cent of the retail sector in terms of turnover.

    • The RSI covers sales only from businesses registered as retailers according to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), an internationally agreed convention for classifying industries. The retail sector is division 47 of the SIC 2007 and retailing is defined as the sale of goods to the general public for household consumption. Consequently, the RSI includes all Internet businesses whose primary function is retailing and also covers Internet sales by other British retailers, such as online sales by supermarkets, department stores and catalogue companies. The RSI does not cover household spending on services bought from the retail sector as it is designed to only cover goods. Respondents are asked to separate out the non-goods elements of their sales, for example income from cafeterias. Consequently, online sales of services by retailers, such as car insurance, would also be excluded.

    • The monthly survey collects two figures from each sampled business: the total turnover for retail sales for the standard trading period, and a separate figure for sales made over the Internet. The total turnover will include Internet sales. The separation of the Internet sales figure allows an estimate relating to Internet sales to be calculated separately.

    3. Definitions and explanations

    • The value or current price series records the growth since the base period (currently 2009) of the value of sales ‘through the till’ before any adjustment for the effects of price changes.

    • The volume or constant price series are constructed by removing the effect of price changes from the value series. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is the main source of the information required on price changes. In brief, a deflator for each type of store (5-digit SIC) is derived by weighting together the CPI’s for the appropriate commodities, the weights being based on the pattern of sales in the base year. These deflators are then applied to the value data to produce volume series.

    • The implied deflator or store price inflation is derived by comparing the value and volume data non-seasonally adjusted. In general, this implied price deflator should be quite close to the retail component of the CPI.

    4. Use of the data

    The value and volume measures of retail sales estimates are widely used in private and public sector organisations. For example, private sector institutions such as investment banks, the retail sector itself and retail groups use the data to inform decisions on the current economic performance of the retail sector, these organisations are most interested in a long term view of the retail sector that can be obtained from year-on-year growth rates. Public sector institutions use the data to assist in informed decision and policy making and tend to be most interested in a snapshot view of the retail sector, which is taken from the month-on-month growth rates.

  4. Methods

    1. Composition of the data

    Estimates in this statistical bulletin are based on financial data collected through the monthly Retail Sales Inquiry. The response rates for the current month reflect the response rates at the time of publication. Late returns for the previous month’s data are included in the results each month. Response rates for historical periods are updated to reflect the current level of response at the time of this publication.

    Table 5: Overall Response Rates

    per cent
    Period Overall response rates
    Turnover Questionnaire
    June 2012 91.2 65.4
    May 2012 96.1 76.0
    Apr 2012 97.0 77.5
    Mar 2012 96.6 79.9

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    2. Seasonal adjustment

    Seasonally adjusted estimates are derived by estimating and removing calendar effects (for example Easter moving between March and April) and seasonal effects (for example increased spending in December as a result of Christmas) from the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) estimates. Seasonal adjustment is performed each month, and reviewed each year, using the standard, widely used software, X-12-ARIMA. Before adjusting for seasonality, prior adjustments are made for calendar effects (where statistically significant), such as returns that do not comply with the standard trading period (see section Methods, Calendar effects), bank holidays, Easter and the day of the week on which Christmas occurs.

    The data collected from the retail sales survey is the amount of money taken through the tills of retailers; these are non-seasonally adjusted data. This data consists of three components:

    • trend which describes long-term or underlying movements within the data,

    • seasonal which describes regular variation around the trend, that is peaks and troughs within the time series, the most obvious in this case being the peak in December and the fall in January,

    • irregular or ‘noise’ for example deeper falls within the non-seasonally adjusted series due to harsh weather impacting on retail sales.

    To ease interpretation of the underlying movements in the data, the seasonal adjustment process estimates and removes the seasonal component to leave a seasonally adjusted time series consisting of the trend and irregular components.

    In the non-seasonally adjusted retail sales index we see large rises in December each year and a fall in the following January, but these are not evident in the seasonally adjusted index. This peak in December is larger than the subsequent fall but the trend and irregular components in both months are likely to be similar, meaning that the movements in the unadjusted series are almost completely as a result of the seasonal pattern.

    3. Calendar effects

    The calculation of the RSI has an adjustment to compensate for calendar effects that arise from the differences in the reporting periods. The reporting period for June 2012 was 27 May 2012 to 30 June 2012, compared with 29 May 2011 to 2 July 2011 the previous year. For example, the annual growth in sales volume between June 2011 and June 2012 requires a 1.9 per cent adjustment to take account of the differences in reporting periods and other calendar effects.

    The table shows that this month there is no difference between the calendar and seasonally adjusted estimates.

    Table 6: Retail Sales, Calendar Effects

    Year on year percentage change
    Value Volume
    Calendar adjusted 1.9 1.6
    Seasonally adjusted 1.9 1.6

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  5. Quality

    1. Basic quality information

    • The standard reporting periods can change over time due to the movement of the calendar. Every five or six years the standard reporting periods are brought back into line by adding an extra week. For example, January is typically a four-week standard period but January 1986, 1991, 1996, 2002 and 2008 were all five-week standard periods. The non-seasonally adjusted estimates will still contain calendar effects. If the non-seasonally adjusted estimates are used for analysis this can lead to a distortion depending on the timing of the standard reporting period in relation to the calendar, previous reporting periods and how trading activity changes over time.

    • The non-seasonally adjusted series contain elements relating to the impact of the standard reporting period, moving seasonality and trading day activity. When making comparisons it is recommended that users focus on the seasonally adjusted estimates as these have the systematic calendar related component removed. Due to the volatility of the monthly data, it is recommended that growth rates are calculated using an average of the latest three months of the seasonally adjusted estimates.

    • When interpreting the data, consideration should be given to the relative weighted contributions of the sectors within the all retailing series. Based on SIC 2007 data, total retail sales consists of: predominantly food stores 41.3 per cent, predominantly non-food stores 41.6 per cent, non-store retailing 5.3 per cent and automotive fuel 11.8 per cent

    2. Standard errors

    The standard error of an index movement is a measure of the spread of possible estimates of that movement likely to be obtained when taking a range of different samples of retail companies of the same size. This provides a means of assessing the accuracy of the estimate: the lower the standard error, the more confident one can be that the estimate is close to the true value for the retail population. An approximate 95 per cent confidence interval for the index movement is roughly twice the standard error. The paper ‘ Measuring the accuracy of the Retail Sales Index’ (1.04 Mb Pdf) , written by Winton, J and Ralph, J (2011) reports on the calculation of standard errors for month-on-month and year-on-year growth rates in the RSI as well as providing an overview of standard errors and how they can be interpreted.

    • The standard error for year-on-year growth in all retail sales volumes is 0.7 per cent. Using a 95 per cent confidence interval this means that the year-on-year growth rate for all retail sales volumes falls within the range 2.4± 1.4 per cent.

    • The standard error for month-on-month growth in all retail sales volumes is 0.4 per cent. Using a 95 per cent confidence interval this means that the month-on-month growth rate for all retail sales volumes falls within the confidence interval 1.8 ± 0.8.

    3. Summary quality report

    The Summary Quality Report (114 Kb Pdf) for the RSI describes, in detail the intended uses of the statistics presented in this publication, their general quality and the methods used to produce them.

    4. Revision triangles

    Revisions to data provide one indication of the reliability of key indicators. The table below shows summary information on the size and direction of the revisions which have been made to the volume data covering a five-year period. Note that changes in definition and classification mean that the revision analysis is not conceptually the same over time. A statistical test has been applied which has shown that the average revision in month-to-month statistics are not statistically different from zero.

    A spreadsheet giving these estimates and the calculations behind the averages in the table is available on the ONS website.

    Table 7: All Retailing, Volume Seasonally Adjusted, Revisions Triangle Summary, June 2012

    Growth in latest period (per cent) Revisions between first publication and estimates twelve months later (percentage points)
    Average over the last five years (mean revision) Average over the last five years without regard to sign (average absolute revision)
    Latest three months compared with previous three months -0.7 -0.22 0.34
    Latest month compared with previous month 0.1 -0.10 0.45

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  6. Relevant links

    Methodological changes were introduced in the April 2009 and January 2010 releases. For more detail see:

  7. Publication Policy

    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office. Also available is a list of the organisations given pre-publication access to the contents of this bulletin (38.5 Kb Pdf) .

  8. Accessing data

    The complete run of data in the tables of this statistical bulletin is available to view and download in electronic format using the ONS Time Series Data service. Users can download the complete bulletin in a choice of zipped formats, or view and download their own sections of individual series.

    Alternatively, for low-cost tailored data call 0845 601 3034 or email info@ons.gsi.gov.uk

  9. © Crown copyright 2012

    Under the terms of the Open Government Licence and UK Government Licensing Framework, anyone wishing to use or re-use ONS material, whether commercially or privately, may do so freely without a specific application for a licence, subject to the conditions of the OGL and the Framework.

    For further information, contact the Office of Public Sector Information, Crown Copyright Licensing and Public Sector Information, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU.

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    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Kate Davies +44 (0)1633 455617 ONS retail.sales.enquiries@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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