Increased growth continued in December
Retail sales indices - seasonally adjusted (2000=100)
December's retail sales results show a continuation of the increased growth seen since the summer.
The volume of retail sales in the three months October to December 2005 was 1.6 per cent higher than in the previous three months, the highest since July 2004. This follows growth of 1.0 per cent in the three months to November and compares with a decrease of 0.3 per cent at the same time in 2004.
Three-monthly growth in sales volume for food stores was 1.1 per cent and 2.0 per cent for non-food stores. Three-monthly growth was positive for all sectors including the non-store sector at 0.8 per cent where it was positive for the first time since June 2005. Non-specialised stores showed growth of 2.7 per cent with household goods stores showing the largest growth of 3.6 per cent.
Compared with the same period a year ago, sales volumes in the three months to December 2005 were up 2.8 per cent, the highest since March 2005. Within non-food stores growth was positive for all sectors, the strongest being non-specialised stores at 4.4 per cent and household goods at 3.8 per cent.
Analysis of monthly figures shows that the total sales volume increased by 0.4 per cent between November and December, following an upwardly revised increase of 0.9 per cent for November and 0.4 per cent in October. There were increases on the month for household goods stores, ‘other’ non-food stores and non-store retailing. Growth was highest for household goods stores at 5.2 per cent, the largest since January 2000, reflecting a relatively strong December for furniture stores and electrical goods stores. Growth for non-store retailing showed an increase of 1.6 per cent reflecting increased sales by specialist internet retailers. There were monthly decreases for food stores at 0.6 per cent, non-specialised stores at 0.2 per cent and clothing stores at 2.6 per cent, reflecting a lower than usual seasonal impact in December, following a relatively strong November.
For the three months to December the unadjusted value of retail sales was 1.8 per cent higher than in the same period a year earlier. Average weekly sales in December were £6.4 billion, 3.6 per cent higher than a year ago, the highest growth since November 2004. This also represents the highest annual growth for a December since 2001. Sales values for food stores increased by 4.2 per cent over the year compared with 3.8 per cent for non-food stores, the first positive growth for non-food stores since March 2005.
In 2005 as a whole, the total value of retail sales is estimated at £249 billion, up 1.0 per cent on 2004. This compares with growth of 4.6 per cent in 2004 and is the lowest annual increase since the Second World War. The previous record low was 2.6 per cent in 2003.
Notes: 1. The December period covered the 5 weeks from 27 November to 31 December 2005. 2. The volume of retail sales is the total takings adjusted for inflation and the value of retail sales is the total actual takings. 3. All volume statistics referred to above are seasonally adjusted. 4. Internet sales by retailers, for whom the majority of sales are in-store, are included in the sales of the relevant store category. Sales by specialist internet retailers are included in the 'Non-store retailing and repair' category along with sales by catalogue based retailers.