After many false dawns it finally seems as though there has been a notable increase in ‘core’ retail sales, i.e. excluding the motor trades. The CSO have published the December Retail Sales Index and, for volume at least, it paints a very positive picture. The value of retail sales has been on an upward trend though is much more muted.
The annual changes for both series have been positive for 14 months in a row.
The monthly changes are more volatile.
So how does the 2014 Christmas period compare to other years? One sub-category that can be used to look at this is retail sales in “Department Stores”. Here is the unadjusted series for this category [The graphs above are all seasonally adjusted which has a massive impact on retail sales statistics.]
Compared to the 2007 level, the volume of retail sales in the “Department Stores” category were 18 per cent higher in 2014. On a value basis sales were 10 per cent lower this year compared to December 2007. We are buying more stuff but at lower prices. [Population, 2007: 4,375,000 2014: 4,610,000 +5.4%]
Here is the adjusted series for “Department Stores” from the above series. Note different vertical axis scale.Tweet