News | Published April 20 2019

Retail sales rise despite high street troubles

The first three months of the year have seen retail sales rise by 1.6 per cent according to figures published by the ONS

Compared to the previous three months, the quantity bought in a retail setting has risen by 1.6 per cent.This first quarter growth has been supported by sustained rises throughout the first three months of the year.

Although retail sales did rise, both department stores and household goods stores did not see any increase. 

The majority of this increase, which stands at a monthly rate of 1.1 per cent, was driven by food stores and non-retail settings. 

While this demonstrates increased consumer spending across the board, it also serves to show the diminishing importance of the high street and the issues that it faces.

This is demonstrated by the percentage of total retail sales which were attributed to online purchases. This has increased from 18.1 per cent to 18.6 per cent since February. Internet sales have also increased by 12.4 per cent when compared to last year.

Compared to this time last year, the quantity bought measure has increased by 6.7 per cent, the highest increase since October 2016. 

Many stores attributed this increase to “milder weather”, especially when compared to the negative impact the “Beast from the East” had last year.

Beyond not growing, department stores were the only type of retail outlet to see a decrease in the quantity bought when compared with last year, falling 0.3 per cent.

Of all sectors of retail, food stores provided the biggest contribution to the 1.2 per cent increase in total spend, accounting for 0.5 per cent of this figure.

Food stores were also level with non-store retailing when contributing to the 1.1 per cent increase in quantity bought, both contributing 0.4 per cent to this growth. 

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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
April 20 2019

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