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ONS Retail Sales August 2023

  • Retail sales (value, non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel) rose by 6.4% year-on-year (YoY) in August according to the latest ONS data, compared to weak growth of 3.3% a year earlier.
  • In volume terms (non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel), retail sales dipped 1.6% YoY in August, compared to a 5.7% decline a year earlier.
  • The three-month-on-three-month volume rate edged up 0.3% in the quarter to August (volume, seasonally adjusted).

Divergence between retail sales volumes and values is narrowing

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 rose by 6.9% YoY in August (versus a 7.4% rise a year earlier). Adjusting for inflation, volumes remained under pressure, declining by 4.0% in the month against a 3.5% decline in the previous year.
  • Non-food sales volumes edged up 0.2% YoY in August, with mixed and unsettled weather impacting footfall.
  • Clothing sales surged 9.0% YoY in value terms, but rose just 1.5% in volume terms after accounting for inflation. The quantity of clothing bought remains below pre-pandemic levels for August.
  • By comparison, Footwear & Leather Goods continue to outperform, with values soaring 19.9% YoY in August and volumes up 14.2%.
  • Household Goods volumes remained in decline, falling by 1.6% YoY. Furniture and Lighting volumes edged up 1.0% in August, following revisions to the data, but remains below 2019 levels.


  • Online sales values rose by 8.7% YoY in August, against an 8.9% decline a year earlier.
  • Clothing & Footwear saw sales rocketed 18.0% in August, while Household Goods rose by 16.7% supported by weak comparisons last year.
  • Non-store retailing (a proxy for pureplay retailers) rose by 9.4% YoY in August, against an 11.0% decline a year earlier.
  • The proportion of retail sales made online remained at around a quarter of sales (24.9% in August 2023 versus 24.4% in August 2022).

Retail sales price deflator

  • The retail sales deflator (a measure of inflation specific to retail) remained at 8.1% YoY in August when excluding fuel. The rate edged up on the previous month when including fuel at 5.3%.
  • The implied price deflator among food stores remained in double-digits at 11.4% YoY in August, but continued to ease from a peak of 14.6% in April. Among non-food stores, the price deflator rose by 5.6% in the month.

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