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ONS Retail Sales October 2023

  • Retail sales (value, non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel) rose by 3.7% year-on-year (YoY) in October according to the latest ONS data, compared to growth of 3.5% a year earlier.
  • In volume terms (non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel), retail sales declined by 2.5% YoY in October, compared to a 6.4% decline a year earlier.
  • The three-month-on-three-month volume rate declined by 1.1% in the quarter to October (volume, seasonally adjusted).
  • It should be noted that ONS figures are based on a sample of some 5,000 retailers and are subject to revisions.

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.

ood and non-food

  • Food sales values rose by 7.7% YoY in October (versus a 6.9% rise a year earlier). Adjusting for inflation, volumes declines are easing, declining by 1.3% in the month against a 5.8% decline in the previous year.
  • Non-food sales volumes remained in decline, falling by 4.9% YoY in October.
  • Clothing sales came under pressure in October, with sales declining by 1.3% YoY in value terms, marking a 7.3% decline in volume terms after accounting for inflation.
  • Household Goods volumes declined by 3.5% YoY as shoppers held back non-essential spending. Furniture and Lighting volumes were close to being flat in October, rising by just 0.1%.


  • Online sales values rose by 5.4% YoY in October, against a 3.1% decline a year earlier.
  • Household Goods sales rose by 15.7% against weak comparisons last year. Clothing & Footwear sales rose by 8.0%, following five months of double-digit rises.
  • Non-store retailing (a proxy for pureplay retailers) rose by 7.3% YoY in October, against an 9.0% decline a year earlier.
  • The proportion of retail sales made online remained at around a quarter of sales (26.3% in October 2023 versus 25.9% in October 2022).

Retail sales price deflator

  • The retail sales deflator (a measure of inflation specific to retail) rose by 6.4% YoY in October when excluding fuel, and rose by 4.9% when including fuel.
  • The implied price deflator among food stores was 9.1% YoY in October but continues to soften from a peak of 14.6% in April. Among non-food stores, the price deflator is softening and rose by 4.4% in the month.

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