The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the monthly retail sales figures for December at the end of last week.
The sort of consensus view on the overall figures were that, “ … retail sales data for December were broadly in line with expectations indicating a reasonably buoyant Christmas, although November data was revised down” which came from Barclays Capital . There was also a possible hope that they just might indicate the avoidance of negative GDP growth in the last quarter.
The initial estimate for GDP is out on Wednesday this week (Burns night!)
INTERNET SALES (definition per the ONS – “The experimental (see last months post) Internet Sales estimates include sales made over the internet by all retailers that is they include on-line sales from supermarkets, department stores, clothing stores and predominantly non-store retailers)” were again buoyant at £4.2bn exceeding our £4bn in a month for the first time estimate in November.
Year on year the annual increase is 22.3% with the December month 2011/10 being 27.9% higher. 2011′s last quarter v’s 2010 shows an increase of 23.7%.
As the figures are not seasonally adjusted the weekly November to December 2011 increase of about 13% is pretty meaningless. Novembers headline figure last month of Internet sales being 12.2% of retail has been revised down to 11.5%. This months figure is 10.9%.
We may before next months release experiment with some seasonal adjustments to help us forecast this years outcome. Based on the average compound growth rate since 2007 of 28.3%, and giving some weighting to recent results, might imply weekly/monthly sales of hopefully a little over £555mn/£2.3bn in January.