May 21, 2014
In April 2014, the quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 6.9% compared with April 2013 and by 1.3% compared with March 2014. This was the highest year-on-year growth in the quantity bought since May 2004 and continued a pattern of year-on-year growth since early 2013.
The underlying pattern, as expressed by the rolling three-month-on-three month growth rate, was one of growth, with the quantity bought increasing by 1.8%. This was the highest since March 2004 and was the 14th consecutive month of three month-on-three month growth in the quantity bought.
With the exception of petrol stations, all stores saw year-on-year increases in sales volumes. Notably the food sector posted its strongest year-on-year growth since January 2002, increasing by 6.3%. Feedback from food store retailers suggested that a better than expected Easter and better weather conditions helped to boost sales.
Food store retailers also suggested that promotions helped to boost sales and this was reflected in the slowing of average price growth in the food sector: consistent with the consumer prices index (CPI) published on 20 May 2014, the rate of food store price inflation decreased to 0.9%, down from 1.8% in March 2014. Food stores provided the main contribution to the fall in the all retail rate of store price inflation, which fell by 0.6% in April 2014.
In April 2014, the amount spent in the retail industry increased by 6.2% compared with April 2013 and by 0.6% compared with March 2014. Non-seasonally adjusted data show that the average weekly spend in the retail industry in April 2014 was £7.0 billion compared with £6.5 billion in April 2013 and £6.8 billion in March 2014.
Following a weak March, the amount spent online increased by 13.3% in April 2014 compared with April 2013 and by 2.6% compared with March 2014.
Late data returns have resulted in above average revisions for March 2014. More detail on revisions can be found in the revisions section of the background notes.