Retail sales volumes rose by 0.3% in July 2022 following a fall of 0.2% in June 2022 (revised from a fall of 0.1%); sales volumes were 2.3% above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels, but down over the past year.
Looking more broadly, in the three months to July 2022, sales volumes fell by 1.2% when compared with the previous three months; this continues the downward trend since summer 2021.
Non-store retailing (predominantly online retailers) sales volumes rose by 4.8% in July 2022; feedback from online retailers suggested that a range of promotions in July 2022 boosted sales.
Automotive fuel sales volumes fell by 0.9% in July 2022, with anecdotal evidence that the heatwave across parts of the UK may have reduced travel and sales.
Non-food stores sales volumes fell by 0.7% over the month because of falls in other non-food stores (negative 1.5%), and clothing stores (negative 1.2%).
Food store sales volumes rose by 0.1% in July 2022; sales volumes were 0.1% below their February 2020 levels.
The proportion of retail sales online rose to 26.3% in July 2022, from 25.3% in June 2022; despite this pick-up, it continues a broad downward trend since its peak in February 2021 (37.5%), but remains above pre-pandemic levels (19.8% in February 2020).
on a year
3 months on
Download this table Table 1: Volume and value sales.xls .csv
Table 1 provides a snapshot of the retail sales industry in July 2022 with both value and volume growth rates.
Retail sales volumes rose by 0.3% in July, following a fall of 0.2% in June 2022 (revised from a fall of 0.1%). Retail sales values, unadjusted for price changes, rose by 1.3% in July 2022, following a rise of 1.1% in June 2022.
When compared with the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level in February 2020, total retail sales were 2.3% and 15.6% higher in volume and value terms, respectively.
Compared with the same period a year earlier, retail sales volumes fell by 4.9% in the three months to July 2022, while sales values rose by 5.5% - reflecting an annual implied deflator (or implied growth in prices) of 10.4%. Percentage change over the past year should be interpreted with caution, given the impact of coronavirus restrictions and base effects on growth rates.
The reporting period for this bulletin covers 3 July to 30 July 2022.
Figure 1 shows the quantity bought in retail sales over time for both the rolling three-month on three-month and the month-on-month movement. While both series show similar trends, the monthly path shows more volatility than the smoother three-month on three-month series.
Three-month on three-month sales volumes fell by 1.2% in July 2022, and has fallen each period since September 2021.
More about economy, business and jobs
Month-on-month contribution to growth by sector
Figure 2 shows the contributions to the 0.3% month-on-month increase in overall retail sales volumes (quantity bought) in July 2022.Back to table of contents
Non-store retailing sales volumes rose by 4.8% in July 2022, up from a fall of 3.7% in June 2022. Despite this increase, sales volumes have followed a broad downward trend as the wider economy reopened.
Feedback from online retailers suggested that there were a range of promotions in July 2022 which boosted sales.
Automotive fuel sales volumes fell by 0.9% in July 2022, following a fall of 4.0% in June 2022. Sales volumes were 8.3% below their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.
Our Economic activity and social change in the UK bulletin reported reduced UK road traffic in mid-July 2022. This coincides with a red and amber alert heatwave across parts of the UK, which may have reduced sales.
Continued high fuel prices may also be impacting sales. Our Consumer price inflation, UK: July 2022 bulletin reported that despite weekly forecourt prices starting to fall during July, average prices for petrol and diesel over the month were still both 5.5 pence per litre higher than in June 2022.
Non-food stores sales volumes fell by 0.7% over the month, but are 0.4% above their pre-coronavirus February 2020 levels.
The sub-sector of other non-food stores reported a monthly fall in sales volumes of 1.5% in July 2022 because of a strong fall in second-hand goods stores (particularly antiques stores and auctioning houses).
Clothing stores sales volumes fell by 1.2% in July 2022, following a fall of 3.9% in June 2022.
Household goods stores sales volumes fell by 0.4% in July 2022, mainly because of falls in furniture and lighting stores. Feedback from retailers suggests that consumers are cutting back on spending because of increased prices and affordability concerns.
Department store sales volumes rose by 1.4% but were 4.0% below their February 2020 levels.
Food store sales volumes rose by 0.1% in July 2022, from 2.7% in June 2022 when Queen’s Jubilee celebrations boosted sales.
Supermarkets’ sales volumes were unchanged over the month (0.0%). Specialist food stores (such as butchers and bakers) increased by 4.7% over the month, while alcohol and tobacco stores fell by 8.7%.
Despite the pickup, food sales volumes have followed a downward trend since summer 2021 following the lifting of restrictions on hospitality.
In recent months, retailers have highlighted that they are seeing a decline in volumes sold because of increased food prices and cost of living impacts.Back to table of contents
as a proportion
of retail in
month on a
Download this table Table 2: Summary of internet statistics.xls .csv
Table 2 shows the month-on-month and month-on-year (annual) growth rates for the amount spent online by value, and the proportion of total retail sales value that was made online by sector. The percentage weights indicate where money is spent online. For example, 7.6 pence in every pound spent online was spent in department stores in 2021.
Online spending values rose by 5.3% in July 2022 because of strong growth in non-store retailing. Feedback from online retailers suggested that there were a range of promotions in July 2022 which boosted sales.
This increased the proportion of online sales which rose to 26.3% in July 2022, from 25.3% in June 2022. Despite this pick-up, the general trend in the proportion of online sales is one of decline since its peak in February 2021 (37.5%) but remains comfortably above pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels (19.8% in February 2020).Back to table of contents
Retail Sales Index
Dataset | Released 19 August 2022
A series of retail sales data for Great Britain in value and volume terms, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.
Retail sales pounds data
Dataset | Released 19 August 2022
Total sales and average weekly spending estimates for each retail sector in Great Britain, in the thousands (British pounds).
Retail Sales Index internet sales
Dataset | Released 19 August 2022
Internet sales in Great Britain by store type, month and year.
Retail Sales Index categories and their percentage weights
Dataset | Released 25 March 2022
Retail sales categories and descriptions and their percentage of all retailing in Great Britain.
Value (amount spent)
The value estimates reflect the total turnover that businesses have collected over a standard period.
Volume (quantity bought)
The volume estimates are calculated by taking the value estimates and adjusting to remove the impact of price changes.
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 because of Christmas) from the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) estimates.
Non-seasonally adjusted estimates refer to raw data where the effects of regular or seasonal patterns have not been removed.
Non-store retailing refers to retailers that do not have a store presence. While the majority is made up of online retailers, it also includes other retailers such as stalls and markets.Back to table of contents
More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our Retail Sales Quality and Methodology Information (QMI).
Revisions in this release are a result of:
revisions to seasonal-adjustment factors, which have been reviewed and re-estimated
late responses to survey returns replacing imputations, or revisions to original returns
Revisions are allowed to occur naturally each month, along the full length of each data time series following direct seasonal adjustment of the component time series.
Compliance check on retail sales statistics
On 11 February 2022, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) published a letter of their findings that confirmed the continued designation of retail sales statistics as National Statistics. In its findings the OSR recommended that we publish a further update on our ongoing developments, future priorities for retail sales statistics and our plans for user engagement. An update on retail sales developments was published on 29 June 2022.Back to table of contents
Uses and users
The Retail Sales Index (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 HM Treasury, to assist in informed decision and policy-making.
Comparability with international data
The most recent international estimate of retail sales available for July 2022 was published by the United States Census Bureau on 17 August 2022. In their Advanced monthly sales for retail and food services, July 2022 (PDF, 371KB), they included the amount spent in the United States retail industry, including motor vehicles and parts, and food services.
Data for Northern Ireland are published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Their release for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2022 was published on 16 June 2022.
It should be noted that accurate comparisons cannot be made against these or other international statistics for a variety of reasons, including differences in methodology.
Eurostat also published their latest estimates of the volume of retail trade (PDF, 519KB) across the EU on 3 August 2022 for June 2022. This shows the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade in both the euro area (EA19) and EU27 when compared with May 2022.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 1633 455602