May 21 2014.

Today's Office of National Statistics report on retail sales for April 2014 show an overall upwards trend.

Key Points: 

- In April 2014, the quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 6.9% compared with April 2013 and by 1.3% compared with March 2014. This was the highest year-on-year growth in the quantity bought since May 2004 and continued a pattern of year-on-year growth since early 2013

- The underlying pattern, as expressed by the rolling three month on three month growth rate, was one of growth, with the quantity bought increasing by 1.8%. This was the highest since March 2004 and was the 14th consecutive month of three-month-on-three month growth in the quantity bought.

- With the exception of petrol stations, all stores saw year-on-year increases in sales volumes. Notably the food sector posted its strongest year-on-year growth since January 2002, increasing by 6.3%. Feedback from food store retailers suggested that a better than expected Easter and better weather conditions helped to boost sales.

- Food store retailers also suggested that promotions helped to boost sales and this was reflected in the slowing of average price growth in the food sector: consistent with the consumer prices index (CPI) published on 20 May 2014, the rate of food store price inflation decreased to 0.9%, down from 1.8% in March 2014. Food stores provided the main contribution to the fall in the all retail rate of store price inflation, which fell by 0.6% in April 2014.

- In April 2014, the amount spent in the retail industry increased by 6.2% compared with April 2013 and by 0.6% compared with March 2014. Non-seasonally adjusted data show that the average weekly spend in the retail industry in April 2014 was £7.0 billion compared with £6.5 billion in April 2013 and £6.8 billion in March 2014.

- Following a weak March, the amount spent online increased by 13.3% in April 2014 compared with April 2013 and by 2.6% compared with March 2014.

- Late data returns have resulted in above average revisions for March 2014. More detail on revisions can be found in the revisions section of the background notes.