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UK Retail Sector Sales Report November (Inc Black Friday) - Grow'

Retail sales volumes are estimated to have fallen by 0.4% in November 2022 following a rise of 0.9% in October (revised from a rise of 0.6%) when there was a bounce back from the impact of the additional Bank Holiday in September for the State Funeral.

Figure 1 shows the quantity bought (volume) and amount spent (value) in retail sales over time. Sales volumes fell by 0.4% in November 2022, continuing a broad downward trend that has been seen since the lifting of hospitality restrictions in summer 2021.

Retail sales volumes fell by 0.4% in November, following a rise of 0.9% in October 2022 (revised from a rise of 0.6%). Retail sales values, unadjusted for price changes, rose by 0.5% in November 2022, following a rise of 1.7% in October 2022. When compared with the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level in February 2020, total retail sales were 14.8% higher in value terms, but volumes were 0.7% lower.

Compared with the same period a year earlier, retail sales volumes fell by 6.2% in the three months to November 2022, while sales values rose by 4.4%.

The reporting period for this bulletin covers 30 October to 26 November 2022. The official Black Friday day of promotion was on 25 November and is included in our reference period. However, Cyber Monday will be included in December's release as it took place on 28 November. Our estimates are seasonally adjusted, which means they account for seasonal effects such as Black Friday, or increased spending over Christmas; Section 4, Black Friday, has more detail on this.

Figure 2 shows the contributions to the 0.4% month-on-month fall in overall retail sales volumes (quantity bought) in November 2022. This highlights that the rise in food stores sales volume was offset by falls in the other main sectors.

Non-store retailing sales volumes fell by 2.8% in November 2022 but were 18.2% above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.

The fall in non-store retailing has been a trend since early 2021, as the wider economy reopened and people could return to shopping in stores.

Automotive fuel sales volumes fell by 1.7% in November 2022, following a rise of 3.2% in October 2022. Fuel and lubricant prices rose by 0.8% between October and November 2022.

Non-food stores sales volumes fell by 0.6% over the month and were 1.8% below their pre-coronavirus February 2020 levels.

The sub-sector of other non-food stores reported a monthly fall in sales volumes of 6.2% because of strong falls in second-hand goods stores (particularly auctioning houses) and computer stores.

Department stores sales volumes rose by 1.7% over the month, while household goods stores (such as furniture stores) sales volumes rose by 4.4% in November 2022.

Department store and household goods store retailers reported increased sales in November 2022. Several retailers reported longer Black Friday sales, as offers over the whole month of November potentially contributed to the increase in sales.

Clothing stores sales volumes rose by 2.1% in November 2022, mainly because of growth in footwear stores, but remained 2.0% below their February 2020 levels.

Food store sales volumes rose by 0.9% in November 2022, with feedback from some retailers suggesting this was because of customers stocking up early for Christmas. Despite this monthly increase, sales volumes were 2.9% below their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.

Food sales volumes have followed a downward trend since the lifting of restrictions on hospitality in summer 2021.

In recent months, supermarkets have highlighted that they are seeing a decline in volumes sold because of increased cost of living and food prices.

4. Black Friday

Figure 7 shows spending in the retail industry from 2013 when Black Friday first became established in the UK.

Data supplied by our contributors show how seasonal the retail sales industry is, with large peaks occurring each December. We use seasonal adjustment methods to estimate for these regular impacts, including for recent events such as promotions as part of Black Friday sales. We therefore advise our users to focus on the seasonally adjusted estimates, which can allow for the evolving changes to consumer patterns over time.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, sales volumes increased by 11.4% over the month to November 2022. However, when this usual seasonal increase is accounted for through seasonally adjustment, sales volumes fell by 0.4% between October and November 2022.

Table 2 shows the month-on-month and month-on-year (annual) growth rates for the amount spent online by value, and the proportion of total retail sales value that was made online by sector. The percentage weights show where money is spent online. For example, 7.6 pence in every pound spent online was spent in department stores in 2021.

Online spending values rose by 0.6% in November 2022, because of monthly increases across all industries except other non-food stores.

The value of online spending increased at a similar rate to retail sales as a whole, so the proportion of online sales remained unchanged at 26.2% in November 2022. The proportion of retail sales online has remained broadly consistent at around 26.0% since May 2022.

Source ONS

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