1. Overview

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.

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