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UK Retail Economic Briefing Report | Economic Report

May 2021

What's included in this report?

  • Summary and economic overview
  • GDP
  • Labour market statistics
  • Inflationary trends
  • Producer prices pressures
  • Consumer spending
  • Retail sales trends
  • Prices, costs and margins
  • House prices and mortgage approvals
  • Credit market statistics
  • Wage Growth and more…

UK Retail Economic Briefing Report : May 2021

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Report Summary

Period covered: 01 Feb 2021 – 28 Feb 2021

Note: This report summary is one or two months behind the current month as standard reporting practice. The content is indicative only and incomplete with certain data undisclosed. Subscribe to access the full report or take out a free 30 day subscription trial.

Gross Domestic Product

Annual GDP fell by 9.8% in 2020, the largest yearly decline on record, the largest annual decline since “The Great Frost” of 1709.

Whilst GDP increased by 1.3% in Q4 2020, the level of economic output in the UK remains 7.3% below its Q4 2019 level.

According to independent forecasts from the Treasury, GDP is forecast to grow by 4.4% in 2021.


CPI inflation unexpectedly eased in February, slowing to 0.4% year-on-year from the 0.7% rise in January and below expectations of a rise to 0.8%

In the coming months Inflation is expected to rise close to the Bank of England’s inflation target of 2% as the recent rise in oil prices continue to feed through to higher fuel prices.

In real terms, total pay and regular pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation.

Retail Sales Growth

Retail sales fell by 0.00% in February, year-on-year, according to the Retail Economics Retail Sales Index (value, non-seasonally adjusted, exc. Fuel).

The closure of non-essential retail throughout February polarised the performance of food and non-food.

Meanwhile, non-food retailers saw a significant slump in sales, down 0.00% on the previous year, according to Retail Economics

As consumers adapt to the shift towards online, average weekly sales saw an increase from £2.4 billion compared with £1.3 billion in the previous year, with online accounting for 34.5% of all retail spending in February.

Consumer Confidence

GfK’s Consumer Confidence index improved by seven points in March to -16, the strongest rise for a year, driven by the vaccine roll-out and roadmap exiting lockdown.

All measures within the index improved compared to the previous month, with perceptions around the economy over the next 12 months demonstrating the greatest improvement.

The major purchases index rose by eight points to -11 in March, some 13 points higher than at the beginning of the year and just nine points lower than a year earlier.


Record GDP decline in 2020 despite improved end to the year

Source: ONS

Latest monthly UK Retail Economic Briefing Report

Report: February 2021 Note: Reporting periods are either one month or two months behind the current month as standard. Gross Domestic Product Annual GDP fell by 9.9% in 2020, the largest yearly decline on record. Despite two consecutive quarte... read more
Report: January 2021 Note: Reporting periods are either one month or two months behind the current month as standard. Following six consecutive months of growth, GDP fell by 2.6% in November as increased coronavirus restrictions across the UK reduc... read more
Report: December 2020 GDP rose by 15.5% in Q3 2020 on the previous quarter – a record high. Consumer spending rose by 18.3% in Q3 2020, compared to Q2 2020. The Consumer Price Index rose by 0.7% in October, up from the 0.5% rise in the previous m... read more
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Report Contents

UK Retail Economic Briefing Report Report
  • Executive Summary
  • GDP
  • Retail Sales
  • Consumer Spending
  • Inflation
  • Labour Market
  • Credit and Housing Market
  • Consumer Confidence
  • Business Confidence
  • Exchange Rates
  • Cost Base Index
  • Economic Forecasts

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Retail Economics publishes monthly UK Retail Economic Briefing reports which draw upon a range of data sources to give you cutting edge insights that you can action within your business.

Succinct, punchy and bold. This report focuses on the macroeconomic factors important in determining the strength of the retail sector. In-depth analysis is provided to keep you informed of the latest movements in the UK economy, vital in forming a view of the strength and trajectory of the UK retail sector.

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