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ONS Retail Sales September 2023

  • Retail sales (value, non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel) rose by 5.9% year-on-year (YoY) in September according to the latest ONS data, compared to soft growth of 3.1% a year earlier.
  • In volume terms (non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel), retail sales declined by 1.4% YoY in September, compared to a 6.7% decline a year earlier.
  • The three-month-on-three-month volume rate declined by 1.0% in the quarter to September (volume, seasonally adjusted).

Divergence remains between retail sales volumes and values

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 9.5% YoY in September (versus a 6.5% rise a year earlier). Adjusting for inflation, volumes declines are easing, declining by 0.9% in the month against a 5.3% decline in the previous year.
  • Non-food sales volumes slipped back into decline after a fairly flat August, declining by 2.4% YoY in September.
  • Clothing sales came under pressure following the introduction of autumn/winter lines during September’s heatwave. Sales rose by just 2.2% YoY in value terms, marking a 4.7% decline in volume terms after accounting for inflation. The quantity of clothing bought remains below pre-pandemic levels for September.
  • Household Goods volumes declined by 1.4% YoY as shoppers held back non-essential spending. Furniture and Lighting volumes were flat with August and rose by 2.2% in September.


  • Online sales values rose by 6.3% YoY in September, against a weak 8.2% decline a year earlier.
  • Household Goods outperformed, rising by 19.1% against weak comparisons last year. Clothing & Footwear sales rose by 9.6%, following four months of double-digit rises.
  • Non-store retailing (a proxy for pureplay retailers) rose by 6.9% YoY in September, against an 11.1% decline a year earlier.
  • The proportion of retail sales made online remained at around a quarter of sales (25.3% in September 2023 versus 25.2% in September 2022).

Retail sales price deflator

  • The retail sales deflator (a measure of inflation specific to retail) rose by 7.3% YoY in September when excluding fuel, and rose by 5.5% when including fuel. 
  • The implied price deflator among food stores remained in double-digits at 10.5% YoY in August, but continues to soften from a peak of 14.6% in April. Among non-food stores, the price deflator is softening and rose by 4.9% in the month.

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