Retail sales, Great Britain: November 2022

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

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Email Rhys Lewis

Dyddiad y datganiad:
16 December 2022

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
20 January 2023

1. Main points

  • Retail sales volumes are estimated to have fallen by 0.4% in November 2022 following a rise of 0.9% in October (revised from a rise of 0.6%) when there was a bounce back from the impact of the additional Bank Holiday in September for the State Funeral.

  • Non-store retailing (predominantly online retailers) sales volumes fell by 2.8% in November 2022, continuing a downward trend seen since early 2021, as the wider economy reopened and people could return to shopping in store; they are still 18.2% higher than their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.

  • Automotive fuel sales volumes fell by 1.7% in November 2022, following a rise of 3.2% in October; these were 8.7% below their February 2020 levels.

  • Non-food stores sales volumes fell by 0.6% in November 2022 and were 1.8% below February 2020 levels.

  • Food store sales volumes rose by 0.9% in November 2022 with anecdotal evidence from retailers suggesting that customers stocked up early for Christmas.

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2. Retail sales in November

Table 1 provides a snapshot of the retail sales industry in November 2022, with both value and volume growth rates.

Retail sales volumes fell by 0.4% in November, following a rise of 0.9% in October 2022 (revised from a rise of 0.6%). Retail sales values, unadjusted for price changes, rose by 0.5% in November 2022, following a rise of 1.7% in October 2022. When compared with the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level in February 2020, total retail sales were 14.8% higher in value terms, but volumes were 0.7% lower.

Compared with the same period a year earlier, retail sales volumes fell by 6.2% in the three months to November 2022, while sales values rose by 4.4%.

The reporting period for this bulletin covers 30 October to 26 November 2022. The official Black Friday day of promotion was on 25 November and is included in our reference period. However, Cyber Monday will be included in December's release as it took place on 28 November. Our estimates are seasonally adjusted, which means they account for seasonal effects such as Black Friday, or increased spending over Christmas; Section 4, Black Friday, has more detail on this.

Figure 1 shows the quantity bought (volume) and amount spent (value) in retail sales over time. Sales volumes fell by 0.4% in November 2022, continuing a broad downward trend that has been seen since the lifting of hospitality restrictions in summer 2021

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  • Month-on-month contribution to growth by sector

    Figure 2 shows the contributions to the 0.4% month-on-month fall in overall retail sales volumes (quantity bought) in November 2022. This highlights that the rise in food stores sales volume was offset by falls in the other main sectors.

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    3. Retail sales, selected sectors

    Non-store retailing

    Non-store retailing sales volumes fell by 2.8% in November 2022 but were 18.2% above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.

    The fall in non-store retailing has been a trend since early 2021, as the wider economy reopened and people could return to shopping in stores.

    Automotive fuel

    Automotive fuel sales volumes fell by 1.7% in November 2022, following a rise of 3.2% in October 2022.

    Fuel and lubricant prices rose by 0.8% between October and November 2022, as reported in our Consumer price inflation, UK: November 2022 bulletin. This may have contributed to the fall in sales volumes over the month.

    Non-food stores

    Non-food stores sales volumes fell by 0.6% over the month and were 1.8% below their pre-coronavirus February 2020 levels.

    The sub-sector of other non-food stores reported a monthly fall in sales volumes of 6.2% because of strong falls in second-hand goods stores (particularly auctioning houses) and computer stores.

    Department stores sales volumes rose by 1.7% over the month, while household goods stores (such as furniture stores) sales volumes rose by 4.4% in November 2022.

    Department store and household goods store retailers reported increased sales in November 2022. Several retailers reported longer Black Friday sales, as offers over the whole month of November potentially contributed to the increase in sales.  

    Clothing stores sales volumes rose by 2.1% in November 2022, mainly because of growth in footwear stores, but remained 2.0% below their February 2020 levels.

    Food stores

    Food store sales volumes rose by 0.9% in November 2022, with feedback from some retailers suggesting this was because of customers stocking up early for Christmas. Despite this monthly increase, sales volumes were 2.9% below their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.

    Food sales volumes have followed a downward trend since the lifting of restrictions on hospitality in summer 2021.

    In recent months, supermarkets have highlighted that they are seeing a decline in volumes sold because of increased cost of living and food prices.

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    4. Black Friday

    Figure 7 shows spending in the retail industry from 2013 when Black Friday first became established in the UK.

    Data supplied by our contributors show how seasonal the retail sales industry is, with large peaks occurring each December. We use seasonal adjustment methods to estimate for these regular impacts, including for recent events such as promotions as part of Black Friday sales. We therefore advise our users to focus on the seasonally adjusted estimates, which can allow for the evolving changes to consumer patterns over time.

    On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, sales volumes increased by 11.4% over the month to November 2022. However, when this usual seasonal increase is accounted for through seasonally adjustment, sales volumes fell by 0.4% between October and November 2022.

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    5. 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, 7.6 pence in every pound spent online was spent in department stores in 2021.

    Online spending values rose by 0.6% in November 2022, because of monthly increases across all industries except other non-food stores.

    The value of online spending increased at a similar rate to retail sales as a whole, so the proportion of online sales remained unchanged at 26.2% in November 2022. The proportion of retail sales online has remained broadly consistent at around 26.0% since May 2022.

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    6. Retail sales data

    Retail Sales Index
    Dataset | Released 16 December 2022
    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 16 December 2022
    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 16 December 2022
    Internet sales in Great Britain by store type, month and year.

    Retail Sales Index categories and their percentage weights
    Dataset | Released 25 March 2022
    Retail sales categories and descriptions, and their percentage of all retailing in Great Britain.

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    7. 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 March and April) 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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    8. 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 the retail sales revisions triangles published on a one-month growth basis and retail sales revisions triangles published on a three-month growth basis.

    Compliance check on retail sales statistics

    On 11 February 2022, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) published a letter that confirmed the continued designation of retail sales statistics as National Statistics. In its findings, the OSR recommended that we publish a further update on our ongoing developments, future priorities for retail sales statistics, and our plans for user engagement. We published an update on retail sales developments on 29 June 2022.

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    9. 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 November 2022 was published by the United States Census Bureau on 15 December 2022. In their Advanced monthly sales for retail and food services, November 2022 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 3 (July to Sept) 2022 was published on 15 December 2022.

    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, 500KB) across the EU on 5 December 2022 for October 2022. This shows the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade in both the euro area (EA19) and the European Union (EU27), when compared with September 2022.

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    11. Cite this statistical bulletin

    Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 16 December 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Retail sales, Great Britain: November 2022.

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    Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

    Rhys Lewis
    Ffôn: +44 1633 455602

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