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ONS Retail Sales December 2019

Retail sales (value, non-seasonally adjusted, excluding fuel) rose by 3.4% year-on-year in December following a 0.3% dip in the previous month according to the latest figures from the ONS.

In volume terms, retail sales rose by 0.7% on last year (seasonally adjusted, excluding fuel). On a month-on-month basis, volumes declined by 0.8%.

Retail data for November and December has been significantly skewed by the later timing of Black Friday in 2019, which fell into the December reporting period.

A more accurate reflection of underlying trends is shown by the three-month on three-month growth, which reported a 1.1% decline in sales volumes to December.

The retail sales deflator (a measure of inflation specific to retail) increased by 0.3% including fuel (0.2% excluding fuel) in the year to December.

The soft rise demonstrates the pressure that non-food prices are under from discounting. To this end, Non-Food store deflation declined at its fastest pace in more than half a year, down by 0.5% year-on-year in December, while inflation among Food stores rose by 1.4%.

Online sales (non-seasonally adjusted, excluding automotive fuel) increased by 11.6% year-on-year, supported by the timing of Black Friday. Online sales accounted for over a fifth of retail sales at approximately 21.3% of all retail spending – the highest December on record and just below the 21.6% peak reported in November 2018.

Retail sales (volume, seasonally adjusted) – 3-months on previous 3-months

Source: ONS

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