KEY POINTS

  • The UK retail sector enjoyed robust volume growth in July, with sales up 4.0% year over year in real terms.
  • Total value retail sales surged by 5.1% year over year, with health and beauty specialists and Internet pure plays posting strong performances.
  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that total shop-price inflation eased to 1.0% in July from 1.4% in June.

Retail Sales Growth by Sector

July proved solid for UK retail, with both volume and value sales surging. Grocery retailers continued to perform strongly, posting sales growth of 5.2% in July.

Internet pure plays and mail order retailers registered solid, 18.8% growth during the month, driven by online promotions. Health and beauty retailers, DIY stores and the traditionally volatile specialist food sector also boosted retail sales in July.

Large clothing specialists, which make up around 90% of the clothing specialist sector, registered a 2.5% increase in sales. The volatile small clothing specialist segment posted a decline.

Footwear stores registered a comeback in July, with sales increasing by 0.4%. Consumer prices for clothing and footwear fell by 0.4% year over year in July, the first time the rate has been negative since October 2016, according to the ONS.

The ONS reported that total shop-price inflation (excluding automotive fuel) eased to 1.0% in July from 1.4% in June. This compares with a peak of 3.0% in September–November 2017. At nonfood retailers, inflation fell to 0.3% in July from 0.8% in June. At automotive fuel retailers, inflation increased to 11.9% in July from 11.2% in June.

Online Retail Sales Growth

Total Internet retail sales were up 15.9% year over year in July, with the growth rate increasing from 14.1% in June. In July, Internet sales grew by 10.2% at food retailers, by 17.0% at nonfood retailers and by 16.7% at nonstore retailers.


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