Retail sales, Great Britain: June 2023

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

Nid hwn yw'r datganiad diweddaraf. Gweld y datganiad diweddaraf

Email Rhys Lewis

Dyddiad y datganiad:
21 July 2023

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
18 August 2023

1. Main points

  • Retail sales volumes are estimated to have risen by 0.7% in June 2023 with increases across all the main sectors (food, non-food and non-store retailing) except automotive fuel, following a rise of 0.1% in May 2023 (revised from an increase of 0.3%).

  • Looking at the quarterly picture, retail sales volumes rose by 0.4% in the three months to June 2023 compared with the three months to March 2023.

  • Non-food stores sales volumes rose by 1.0% in June 2023, following a fall of 0.5% in May 2023; department stores and furniture retailers reported that summer sales and increased footfall helped boost volumes.

  • Food stores sales volumes bounced back with 0.7% growth in June 2023, following a fall of 0.4% in May 2023, with feedback from some supermarkets that the good weather and promotions helped sales.

  • Non-store retailing sales volumes rose by 0.2% in June 2023, following a rise of 2.4% in May 2023.

  • Automotive fuel stores sales volumes fell by 0.3% in June 2023, following a rise of 1.7% in May 2023.

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2. Retail sales in June

Table 1 provides a snapshot of the retail sales industry in June 2023, with both volume and value growth rates.

The reporting period for this bulletin covers 28 May to 1 July 2023, so it includes the spring bank holiday on 29 May 2023.

Figure 1 shows the continued divergence between the quantity bought (volume) and amount spent (value) in retail sales over time because of price increases.

When compared with their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level in February 2020, total retail sales were 17.9% higher in value terms, but volumes were 0.2% lower.

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Month-on-month contribution to growth by sector

Figure 2 shows the contributions to the 0.7% month-on-month rise in overall retail sales volumes (quantity bought) in June 2023. This highlights that the increase over the month was because of increases in non-food and food stores. The contribution of automotive fuel and non-store retailing rounded to zero.

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3. Retail sales, selected sectors

Non-food stores

Total non-food stores sales volumes (the total of department, clothing, household and other non-food stores) rose by 1.0% in June 2023, following a fall of 0.5% in May 2023.

Within non-food stores, department stores increased by 1.9% over the month, with feedback from some retailers that summer sales and increased footfall because of the good weather helped boost sales volumes.

The sub-sector, other non-food stores, increased by 1.5% over the month because of an increase in second-hand goods stores, such as auction houses, and other retail sales of new goods, such as sales in art galleries.

Household goods stores reported a monthly rise in sales volumes of 1.4% because of strong sales in furniture stores, with some retailers also reporting summer sales having a positive impact.

Clothing stores sales volumes fell by 0.4% and were 1.5% below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.

Food stores

Food stores sales volumes rose by 0.7% in June 2023, following a fall of 0.4% in May 2023, with feedback from some retailers that the good weather and promotions helped sales volumes.

Despite this pick up, food store sales volumes were 2.6% below their pre-coronavirus February 2020 levels.

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4. Online retail

Table 2 shows the month-on-month and month-on-year (annual) growth rates for the amount spent online by value, and the proportion of total retail sales value that was made online by sector. The percentage weights show where money is spent online. For example, 7 pence in every pound spent online was spent in department stores in 2022.

Online spending values fell by 0.5% in June 2023 because of monthly falls in clothing and food stores as they returned to previous levels following increases last month.

The proportion of online sales fell to 26.0% in June 2023 from 26.5% in May 2023 and has remained broadly consistent at around 26% since May 2022.

The proportion of retail sales taking place online remains above the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels (19.7% in February 2020).

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5. Retail sales data

Retail Sales Index
Dataset | Released 21 July 2023
A series of retail sales data for Great Britain in value and volume terms, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.

Retail sales pounds data
Dataset | Released 21 July 2023
Total sales and average weekly spending estimates for each retail sector in Great Britain, in the thousands (British pounds).

Retail Sales Index internet sales
Dataset | Released 21 July 2023
Internet sales in Great Britain by store type, month and year.

Retail Sales Index categories and their percentage weights
Dataset | Released 24 March 2023
Retail sales categories and descriptions, and their percentage of all retailing in Great Britain.

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6. Glossary

Value (amount spent)

The value estimates reflect the total turnover that businesses have collected over a standard period.

Volume (quantity bought)

The volume estimates are calculated by taking the value estimates and adjusting to remove the effect of price changes.

Seasonally adjusted

Seasonally adjusted estimates are derived by estimating and removing calendar effects (for example, Easter moving between April and May) and seasonal effects (such as increased spending in December because of Christmas) from the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) estimates.

Non-seasonally adjusted

Non-seasonally adjusted estimates refer to raw data where the effects of regular or seasonal patterns have not been removed.

Non-store retailing

Non-store retailing refers to retailers that do not have a store presence. While the majority is made up of online retailers, it also includes other retailers, such as stalls and markets.

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7. Measuring the data


More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our Retail Sales Index Quality and Methodology Information (QMI).


Revisions in this release are a result of:

  • revisions to seasonal adjustment factors, which have been reviewed and re-estimated

  • late responses to survey returns replacing imputations, or revisions to original returns

Revisions are allowed to occur naturally each month, along the full length of each data time series, following direct seasonal adjustment of the component time series.

For further information on the revisions profile, please see our Retail sales revisions triangles dataset, published on a one-month growth basis, and our Retail sales revisions triangles datasets, published on a three-month growth basis.

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8. Strengths and limitations

Uses and users

The Retail Sales Index (RSI) is an important economic indicator and one of the earliest short-term measures of economic activity. It is used in the creation of the national accounts and widely used by private and public sector institutions, particularly by the Bank of England and HM Treasury, to assist in informed decision and policymaking.

Comparability with international data

The most recent international estimate of retail sales available for June 2023 was published by the United States Census Bureau on 18 July 2023. In their Advanced monthly sales for retail and food services June 2023 report they included the amount spent in the United States retail industry, including motor vehicles and parts, and food services.

Data for Northern Ireland are published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Their Retail Sales Index release for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2023 was published on 15 June 2023.

It should be noted that accurate comparisons cannot be made against these or other international statistics for a variety of reasons, including differences in methodology.

Eurostat also published their latest estimates of the volume of retail trade (PDF, 344KB) across the EU on 6 July 2023 for May 2023. This shows the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade in both the euro area (EA19) and the European Union (EU27), when compared with April 2023.

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10. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 21 July 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Retail sales, Great Britain: June 2023

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Rhys Lewis
Ffôn: +44 1633 455602