Retail sales, Great Britain: May 2024

Retail sales rebound in May following a wet April, according to a first estimate.

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Dyddiad y datganiad:
21 June 2024

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
19 July 2024

1. Overview

Retail sales volumes (quantity bought) rose by 2.9% in May 2024, following a fall of 1.8% in April 2024 (revised from a fall of 2.3%).

Sales volumes rose across most sectors, with clothing retailers and furniture stores rebounding following poor weather in April.

More broadly, sales volumes rose by 1.0% in the three months to May 2024 when compared with the previous three months. However, they fell by 0.2% when compared with the three months to May 2023.

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2. Retail sales in May

Sales volumes rose by 2.9% during May 2024 following a revised 1.8% downturn in April 2024. Over the year to May 2024, volumes rose by 1.3%, and were 0.5% below their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic level in February 2020.

More broadly, there was a 1.0% rise in the three months to May 2024 when compared with the three months to February 2024. These data are available in our Retail Sales Index datasets.

Please consider the impact of the additional bank holiday on 8 May 2023 for the coronation of King Charles III remaining in our seasonally adjusted estimates when interpreting comparisons on the year. More information on this is available in Section 6: Measuring the data.  

The reporting period for this bulletin covers 28 April 2024 to 25 May 2024.

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3. Retail sectors

Non-food stores sales volumes (the total of department, clothing, household, and other non-food stores) rose by 3.5% in May 2024. This was the largest monthly rise since April 2021, and follows a fall of 3.0% in April 2024. Within non-food stores, there was strong monthly growth for clothing and footwear retailers, furniture stores, and sports equipment, games and toys stores. These retailers reported improved footfall, better weather, and the impact of promotions.

Our Consumer price inflation, UK: May 2024 bulletin reported that prices of furniture and household goods fell by 1.8% in the year to May 2024. This was the lowest annual rate since December 2000.

The Met Office climate summaries reported that May 2024 was the warmest on record, in a series going back to 1884.

Non-store retailers, which are predominantly online retailers, rose by 5.9% on the month. This was the largest monthly increase and index level since April 2022. Commodity breakdown data indicated that the increase in May 2024 was because of strong clothing and other non-food sales.

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4. Online retail

The amount spent online, known as online spending values, rose by 5.4% during May 2024, and by 4.1% over the year.

Total spend (the sum of in-store and online sales) showed a smaller 3.3% rise during the month, resulting in the proportion of sales made online increasing from 26.7% in April 2024 (revised from 26.5%) to 27.2% in May 2024.

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5. Retail sales data

Retail Sales Index
Dataset | Released 21 June 2024
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 June 2024
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 June 2024
Internet sales in Great Britain by store type, month, and year.

Retail Sales Index categories and their percentage weights
Dataset | Released 22 March 2024
Retail sales categories and descriptions and their percentage of all retailing in Great Britain.

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6. Measuring the data

For May 2024, the response rates were 64.5% based on returned forms and this accounted for 93.8% of total turnover coverage of the sample population. For historical response information, see our Retail sales quality tables.

Information on how we calculated the data, including their strengths and limitations, and a glossary of relevant terms are available in our Retail Sales Index Quality and Methodology Information (QMI).

Seasonal adjustment

The bank holiday for the coronation of King Charles III on 8 May 2023 was not a regular bank holiday, so there is not an explicit adjustment to account for it as part of the seasonal adjustment process.

There may be some impact on our estimates in May 2023 because of this. This should be considered when interpreting seasonally adjusted movements involving May 2023.

We have implemented improvements to data within this release, following our annual seasonal adjustment review. This, alongside late responses to survey returns replacing imputation have led to some revisions to our historic series. Further information on the revisions profile is available in our Retail Sales revisions triangles dataset.

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7. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 21 June 2024, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Retail sales, Great Britain: May 2024

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Retail Sales team
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