The July sunshine drove retail sales to their biggest annual rise in two years. Retail Week digs a bit deeper into the data.

  • July retail sales volumes increased 3% year-on-year, its largest rise since April 2011. The rise was driven by food and online sales, as the sunny weather boosted sales of alcohol, clothing and outdoor items in particular. Meanwhile, retail prices jumped 1.8% in July against last year, mainly driven by food price increases.
  • Against June, July retail sales volumes grew 1.1% due to “strong” sales at supermarkets, where sales increased 2.5%.
  • The estimated weekly spend on retail increased month-on-month by 2.9% to £7bn in July. Year-on-year the weekly spend across the retail sector grew 4.4%.
  • In the July four-week reporting period the total amount spent was £27.9bn (non-seasonally adjusted) against £34.2bn spent in the June 2013 five week reporting period, and £26.6bn in the July 2012 four week reporting period.
  • Before the recession in the years between January 2004 and January 2008, the volume of retail sales grew 10.6%, while the value of retail sales increased 13.8% as a result of price increases. Over the four year period, inflation jumped 8.1% and average weekly earnings jumped 14.6%.
  • But in the years covering the recession and recovery of the economy from January 2008 to July 2013, retail sales volumes grew 4% with the majority of growth in the last six months. At the same time, the value of retail sales rose by 17.2%, inflation surged 19.2% and average weekly earnings (excluding bonuses) increased by 10.6% (although these data are only available up to June 2013). This highlights the extent to which prices have grown since the onset of the economic downturn as well as the squeeze felt on households’ real income.
  • Department store sales jumped 3.1% in July 2013 against last year, while textiles, clothing and footwear sales increased 1.4%.
  • Food sales volumes jumped 2.1% against July last year, showing the highest increase since April 2011. Meanwhile, the amount spent on food in July increased by 5.7%, also the highest growth since April 2011.
  • Average weekly spend within supermarkets has increased steadily over the last 6 years, and has reached the highest value on record in July 2013.
  • In the July 2013 four week reporting period, the amount spent in the retail industry was £27.9 billion (non-seasonally adjusted). This compares with £34.2 billion in the June 2013 five week reporting period and £26.6 billion in the July 2012 four week reporting period.
  • Average weekly online spend surged 10.7% in July 2013 to £586.6 million against the same month last year.
  • The amount spent online accounted for 9.5% of all retail spending excluding automotive fuel.
  • In the food sector 3.2% of spending was online. This sector has the lowest proportion of online spending in relation to all spending.