UK retail sales volumes fell by 0.5% in May from April, up 2.6% from pre-pandemic level; the largest contribution to the monthly decrease came from food stores, down 1.6% month-over-month due to rising food prices, cost of living: ONS

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LONDON , June 24, 2022 (press release) –

A first estimate of retail sales in volume and value terms, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.

Main points

  • Retail sales volumes fell by 0.5% in May 2022 following a rise of 0.4% in April 2022 (revised from a rise of 1.4%); sales volumes were 2.6% above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.
  • In the three months to May 2022, sales volumes fell by 1.3% when compared with the previous three months; this continues the downward trend since summer 2021.
  • The fall in sales volumes over the month was because of food stores, which fell by 1.6%; reduced spending in food stores seems to be linked to the impact of rising food prices and the cost of living.
  • Automotive fuel sales volumes rose by 1.1% in May 2022, which may in part be linked to increased hybrid working and a fall in those working exclusively from home.
  • Non-food stores sales volumes were unchanged (0.0%) over the month; an increase in clothing sales (2.2%) was offset by a fall in household goods (negative 2.3%), such as furniture stores, and department stores (negative 1.1%). 
  • The proportion of retail sales online fell to 26.6% in May 2022 from 27.1% in April but remains substantially higher than the 19.7% in February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic.

Industry Intelligence Editor's Note: This press release omits select charts and/or marketing language for editorial clarity. Click here to view the full report.

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