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Has 2014 been a good year for retailers?

A comparison of retail sales movements in Great Britain in 2014 with those from previous years

2014 has been a better year for the retail industry than recent years, with the annual change in the quantity bought of 3.8% being the highest annual growth since 2004. A contributing factor to this is a fall in average store prices across the retail industry. Gross disposable income rose through 2014 and a similar pattern was seen in consumer spending suggesting consumers spent a higher proportion of what they earned.

We will look at how the Great British retail industry has fared in 2014 compared with other years and which stores have fared well, this includes the:

  • amount spent

  • quantity bought

  • average store prices

2014 has been a better year for the retail industry

Figure 1: Amount spent, quantity bought and average stores prices (GB) for the retail industry 1996 to 2014

Figure 1: Amount spent, quantity bought and average stores prices (GB) for the retail industry 1996 to 2014

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Since 1996, there has been an underlying pattern of growth in the amount spent. Until 2007 the trend in the quantity bought was also growth, however, this turned flat and remained flat for an extended period after the end of the downturn, through to 2012. During the same period (2007 to 2012) average store prices, measured by the implied deflator, began to rise following 5 consecutive years of deflation from 2001.

In 2014, the quantity bought increased by 3.8%, the strongest annual growth since 2004. At the same time the amount spent also increased by 3.0%, while average store prices fell by 0.7% in 2014 compared to 2013.

So which stores did well in 2014?

Figure 2: Amount spent, quantity bought and average store prices in the four main retail sectors, seasonally adjusted

Figure 2: Amount spent, quantity bought and average store prices in the four main retail sectors, seasonally adjusted

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In 2014 growth in non-store retailing (mainly online only stores, but also includes mail order, stalls and markets) fared best in terms of change in the quantity bought and amount spent, followed by predominantly non-food stores, compared with 2013. Food stores saw much smaller growth and, while there was a small increase in the quantity bought at petrol stations, the amount spent saw a fall of almost 5%, a direct consequence of falling fuel prices. 

Figure 3: Average weekly spend, non seasonally adjusted in the retail industry by store type

Figure 3: Average weekly spend, non seasonally adjusted in the retail industry by store type

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Average weekly spend (non-seasonally adjusted) in food stores and non-food stores is far greater than in non-store retailing and automotive fuel. Throughout the course of both years, as shown in figure 3, on average consumers spend a similar amount each week in food and non-food stores, but around October each year the amount we spend in non-food stores increases at a much faster rate than in food stores. It could be said the dominating factor behind the Christmas peak in retail sales in dominated by non-food stores. 

Non-food stores

With the exception of textile, clothing and footwear, in 2014, all other non-food store types saw increases in the quantity bought and falls in the average price of goods sold when compared with 2013.

Figure 4: Amount spent, quantity bought and average store prices in non-food stores, seasonally adjusted

Figure 4: Amount spent, quantity bought and average store prices in non-food stores, seasonally adjusted

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Non-food stores in detail

When looking at all store types in non-food stores as shown in figure 5, stores selling computers and telecoms, sporting goods and toys, furniture and electrical appliances all saw strong growth in 2014 compared with 2013. Stores faring less well were those selling books, newspapers and stationery, carpets and rugs and second hand goods. 

Figure 5: Annual growth in 2014 in the quantity bought in all non-food stores, seasonally adjusted

Figure 5: Annual growth in 2014 in the quantity bought in all non-food stores, seasonally adjusted

Notes:

  1. Click on the image to view a larger version

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Categories: Economy, National Accounts, National Income, Expenditure and Output
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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