September 18 2014.

Key Points

• Compared with July 2014, the quantity bought in the retail industry in August 2014 was estimated to have risen by 0.4%. Compared with August 2013 the growth was much stronger with the quantity bought increasing by 3.9%.

• This year-on-year increase is now the 17th month of consecutive year-on-year growth and when this is coupled with the 18 months of consecutive rolling 3-months on 3-months growth it would be true to say that the underlying picture is one of growth.

• In August 2014, the amount spent in the retail industry increased by 0.2% compared with July 2014 and by 2.7% compared with August 2013.

• The quantity bought in household goods stores in August 2014 increased by 12.7% compared with August 2013. This is the largest year-on-year increase in this series since October 2001 (16.2%). The main contribution to this increase in growth was from furniture stores The year-on-year increase of 23.4% in these stores was the largest growth since records began in 1988. Feedback from retailers suggested that this was in part due to better than average sales.

• Electrical appliance stores also contributed to the increase in the quantity bought in household goods stores. Feedback from retailers suggested that sales were increased as consumers sought to buy high powered vacuum cleaners before the EU energy saving regulation came into force at the end of August.

• However, average store prices fell in August 2014 by 1.2% compared with August 2013, the largest fall since July 2009. The slowing of prices at petrol stations, down 5.0%, provided the main contribution to this fall. It is worth noting that prices at food stores fell by 0.1%, the first annual fall in prices at these stores since December 2004 when it also fell by 0.1%.

• The proportion of sales made online fell by 0.2% to account for 11.0% of all sales in August 2014. Despite this fall in the proportion of sales, the amount spent online increased by 8.3% in August 2014 compared with August 2013.

• Revisions to this period are caused primarily by the introduction of new seasonal factors as suggested by the annual seasonal adjustment review. There are also revisions from the incorporation of late data.