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ONS Retail Sales April 2023

  • Retail sales (value, non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel) rose by 6.5% year-on-year (YoY) in April according to the latest ONS data.
  • In volume terms (non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel), retail sales declined by 3.3% YoY in April, against a weak 5.5% decline a year earlier. Volumes have seen consecutive falls since March 2022.
  • The three-month-on-three-month volume rate edged up 1.0% in the quarter to April, while volumes ticked up 0.8% in April compared to March (seasonally adjusted).

Retail sales value and volume growth remains detached

Source: ONS, Retail Economics analysis

Note: all retail sales figures provided below are non-seasonally adjusted, excluding Fuel, unless stated otherwise.

Food and non-food

  • Food sales values rocketed 10.1% YoY in April (versus a 3.2% rise a year earlier), driven by inflation. Volumes declined by 3.9% YoY in April, against a dismal 3.6% decrease in the previous year.
  • Clothing sales surged 9.1% YoY in April, against a 9.8% rise a year earlier. Volumes edged up just 1.0% in the month, with the quantity of clothing sold remaining below 2019 levels for the month.
  • Footwear & Leather Goods sales values rose by 16.3% YoY and volumes surged 11.8% to well above typical pre-pandemic levels for the month, as events and weddings return.
  • Home categories remain under pressure following strong growth during the pandemic. Furniture and Lighting sales volumes dipped 0.8% YoY in April, while Household Goods volumes declined 4.6%.


  • Online sales values edged up 1.3% in April, flattered by a weak comparative (-10.2% April 2022).
  • Clothing & Footwear and non-store retailing (a proxy for pureplay retailers) drove the uplift, with online sales up by 4.5% and 2.9% YoY respectively.
  • The proportion of retail sales made online remained broadly unchanged at 25.2% on recent months - down from 26.5% a year earlier.  

Retail sales price deflator

  • The retail sales deflator (a measure of inflation specific to retail) stepped up by 10.1% YoY in April when excluding fuel, and remained at 8.1% when including fuel.
  • The implied price deflator among food stores surged at another record high of 14.6% YoY in April (records began in 1989). Among non-food stores, the price deflator rose by 6.8% in the month.

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