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“Monthly retail sales figures tend to be erratic, but this doesn’t hide the fact that this was a disappointing fall. The sector is undergoing structural changes, with online sales now at 10.5% (excluding car fuel) and rising. However longer term comparisons show a solid pace of growth at just under 2% per year.
“This fall is a reminder that even though the economy will continue growing, the recovery is not yet secure. The government must play its part in creating a climate that encourages businesses to create wealth and expand, such as by improving access to finance for growing firms.”
• Year-on-year estimates of the quantity bought in the retail industry continue to show growth – In October 2013, the quantity bought increased by 1.8% compared with October 2012. On the month the quantity bought decreased by 0.7%. Despite this fall, the underlying pattern in the data as suggested by the three month on three month movement is flat, following a sustained seven month period of growth.
• Of the four main retail sectors non-food stores and non-store retailing provided the upwards contributions to the year-on-year growth increasing by 2.7% and 16.3% respectively. Food stores and petrol stations saw falls in the quantity bought of 0.3% and 2.4% respectively.
• The amount spent in the retail industry in October 2013 increased by 2.5% compared with October 2012 but fell by 0.7% compared with September 2013. Non-seasonally adjusted data show that the average weekly spend in October 2013 was £6.9 billion.
• The annual increase in the prices of goods sold in the retail industry slowed from an increase of 0.9% in September to 0.7% in October. Consistent with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), the automotive fuel sector provided the largest contribution to this change with the prices of goods sold in this sector falling by 3.5%, the largest fall in the price of goods sold in this sector since September 2009. Excluding automotive fuel the prices of goods sold increased by 1.3% in October 2013.