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ONS Retail Sales May 2022

  • Retail sales (value, non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel) rose by just 1.8% year-on-year (YoY) in May, against 21.3% growth a year earlier according to the latest ONS data. 
  • In volume terms, retail sales fell by 5.7% YoY in May, following a 4.8% decline last month but against a rise of 19.7% a year ago (non-seasonally adjusted, exc. fuel). 
  • Resultantly, the three-month-on-three-month volume rate edged down by 1.5% in the quarter to May (volume, seasonally adjusted).

Food and non-food

  • Food store sales edged up by 2.3% in May, compared to a 3.8% decline a year earlier (value, non-seasonally adjusted). 
  • Clothing sales recorded a further rise, up by 16.7% YoY in May despite a 143.0% bounce back in the previous year. Demand was supported by the return of holiday shopping (value, non-seasonally adjusted). 
  • Furniture and Lighting stores sales fell by 9.3% YoY in May against a 248.3% rise a year earlier when the country was emerging from lockdown (value, non-seasonally adjusted). 
  • Similarly, Household Goods sales declined 11.1% during the month, against a 79.8% rise last year (value, non-seasonally adjusted).


  • The decline in online sales growth eased in May, falling 7.3% YoY (from 9.9% last month), compared with 5.4% growth a year earlier. 
  • All online categories recorded a decline with Household Goods (-20.1%) and Department Stores (-12.3%) disappointing.
  • The proportion of retail sales made online fell in May to 25.9% from 26.4% in March, the lowest penetration rate since March 2020.

Retail sales price deflator

  • The retail sales deflator (a measure of inflation specific to retail) edged higher amid mounting inflation, rising by 8.0% YoY in May excluding fuel (from 7.9% last month) – a fresh record high – and 10.3% when including fuel. 
  • The implied price deflator among food stores surged by 8.2% YoY but eased among non-food stores, rising by 7.7% from 8.5% last month.

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