Retail sales by value, excluding fuel, jumped 6.2% year-on-year in October as volumes surged 7.6%, according to latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.
Sales volumes and values grew compared to last year across all retail sectors in October, with the biggest leap coming from online retail, which jumped 26.8% year on year – the highest rate of growth since April 2002.
Non-specialist stores also performed well with sales values up 6.2%, while grocery sales advanced 3.2%.
The quantity of sales edged up 1.9% on September with fashion and footwear retailers contributing the most growth. All retail sectors grew month on month, except department stores.
|Sector||Percentage change over 12 months|
|Quantity bought (volume)||Amount spent (value)||Average store price|
|Predominantly food stores¹||4.7||3.2||-1.5|
|Predominantly non-food stores²||6.6||5.6||-1.1|
|Textile, clothing and footwear stores||3.7||3.1||-0.6|
|Household goods stores||1.6||1.2||-0.6|
Ian Gilmartin, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said this was an “excellent result” for retail.
“More seasonal weather provided a timely fillip for fashion retailers, but it’s the strength across the board that really demonstrates the resilience of the industry,” he said.
Average store prices, including petrol stations, fell by 0.7% year on year – the 28th consecutive month of price falls. Grocery prices fell 1.5% over October.
“Rising costs for retailers are a growing reality, and the extent to which they swallow these costs or pass them onto customers is the big question”
Keith Richardson, managing director for the retail sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said the threat of price rises in the future could be driving shoppers to the high street now.
Gilmartin said how retailers manage price rises will be “the crucial dilemma” in 2017. “Rising costs for retailers are a growing reality, and the extent to which they swallow these costs or pass them onto customers is the big question,” he said.
“Retailers are clearly thinking long and hard before making a decision on price, as getting the balance right to ensure margins are protected but demand isn’t stifled is essential if retailers are going to carry this month’s success into next year.”