January 23 2015.

Key Points:

Year-on-year estimates of the quantity bought in the retail industry showed growth in December 2014, increasing by 4.3% compared with December 2013. This is the 21st consecutive month of year-on-year growth. Comparing the 12 months of 2014 with the 12 months of 2013 the quantity bought increased by 3.8% compared with 2013.

The underlying pattern in the data as suggested by the three-month on three-month movement in the quantity bought continued to show growth for the 22nd consecutive month increasing by 2.3% and was the strongest growth since April 2002 when it was 2.5%. This was the longest period of sustained growth since November 2007 when there were 25 periods of consecutive growth.

On the month, the quantity bought increased by 0.4% compared with November 2014 following an increase in November of 1.6%. Some stores experienced better sales in November 2014 as a result of ‘Black Friday’ which may have reduced sales in December 2014.

Average store prices fell by 2.2% in December 2014 compared with December 2013. This was the largest fall since June 2002 when prices fell by 2.5%. The biggest contribution to the year-on-year fall once again came from petrol stations which fell by 9.7%, this was the largest year-on-year fall in this store type since July 2009 when it fell by 13.7%.

Petrol prices are at their lowest level since October 2009 and diesel prices at their lowest since March 2010.

In December 2014, the amount spent in the retail industry increased by 1.9% compared with December 2013 and by 0.2% compared with November 2014. Non-seasonally adjusted data show that the average weekly spend in the retail industry in December 2014 was £9.0 billion compared with £8.9 billion in December 2013 and £7.9 billion in November 2014.

The value of Internet sales decreased by 2.8% compared with November 2014, the largest fall since August 2012 when it fell by 7.1% and accounted for 11.3% of all retail sales in December 2014. Online sales increased by 8.0% compared with December 2013.

Revisions in this release were caused by the incorporation of late data. The earliest revisions point for current price, non-seasonally adjusted data was December 2013. More information on revisions can be found in the background notes.

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