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ONS Retail Sales July 2020

Retail sales continued to climb in July – the first full month that non-essential shops could reopen since lockdown began. The latest figures from the ONS bring the overall volume of retail sales above the level they were at before lockdown, at 3.0% above pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

Retail sales (value, non-seasonally adjusted, excluding fuel) increased by 2.7% year-on-year in July, following a 1.7% uplift in the previous month. In volume terms, this marked a 3.1% increase in July on last year.

Month-on-month, the increases were 4.4% by value and 2.0% by volume. Smoothing out the recent volatility, the three-month on three-month rate in July saw sales volumes rise by 6.9% excluding fuel.

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

Source: ONS

Online has continued to surge since the pandemic, although the rate of increase has eased. Online sales (non-seasonally adjusted, excluding automotive fuel) were up by 54.1% year-on-year in July, compared to a 72.9% increase in June.

This resulted in online accounting for 28.1% of overall retail sales in July – below the record of 32.8% in May.

The retail sales deflator (a measure of inflation specific to retail) rose by 0.5% excluding fuel in the year to July, but declined by 0.7% when including fuel. Non-Food stores edged up 0.5% year-on-year, following five months of decline. Food stores continued to face inflation, up by 0.9% year-on-year.

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