Internet April retail sales power ahead +18% as the rest tumble

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS)  have just published the monthly retail sales figures for March (pdf17) We’ve cut the pdf down to exclude the 94 pages of tables etc. If you want these the full version is on the ONS site. May’s release is scheduled for 21 June returning to the 3rd Thursday of the month scenario!

Overall the figures are very disappointing  and, sort of, overcompensate for the positivity reported last month, no doubt due partially to the wettest April ever and other key economic factors such as no panic fuel buying this month – in fact the opposite!

Our Internet sales headlines are:

April increases:

  • Year on year +18.1%.(15.5%) This is the greatest increase this year
  • Year to date April 2012/2011 + 14.9% (14.0%) another move upwards making three so far this year
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on March 2012 annualised + 14% (2) on April 2011 +15.8%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group (Non store retailing) showing 23.9% growth on 2011 and contributing 9.8% to the overall growth of 18.1% (This is an area which is likely to just grow & grow unless further meaningful analysis is undertaken by the ONS)

The more observant amongst you may notice that some of the “history” has changed  – this is due to regular revisions by the ONS which this month went back as far as April 2011

The ONS words are:

Internet Sales

Key points

• Internet average weekly sales values (non-seasonally adjusted) in April 2012 were estimated increased to be £489.0 million, an increase of by 18.1 per cent when compared with April 2011.

• Internet sales are now estimated to account for 8.5 per cent of all retail sales values excluding automotive fuel.

• The non-store retailing sector has the largest proportion of Internet sales in April 2012 and now accounts for 60.6 per cent of all sales in this sector, up from 54.8 per cent in April 2011.

• The food sector has the lowest proportion of Internet sales which now accounts for 3.2 per cent in April 2012, up from 2.8 per cent in April 2011.

• The average weekly value of Internet sales in April 2012 (non-seasonally adjusted) is estimated to be £489.0 million, up from £485.4 million in March 2012.

Internet sales in detail

The Internet sales statistics measure how much has been spent online through retailers in Great Britain. Figures are non-seasonally adjusted and the reference year is 2010=100. The table below shows the year-on-year growth for total Internet sales, each sector and the contribution that each sector makes to total Internet sales.

Category Weight Year on year Contribution
(YOY) growth to YOY growth
All retailing 100.0 18.1%
(a) All food 17.3 14.3% 2.5%
(b) All non-food 41.4 14.0% 5.8%
Department stores 7.0 28.2% 2.0%
Textile clothing & footwear stores 11.7 16.5% 1.9%
Household goods stores 8.2 22.6% 1.9%
Other stores 14.5 0.3% 0.0%
(c) Non store retailing 41.3 23.9% 9.8%

We have added our annotations to the ONS table – The bold categories/ figures in the table are the primary constituents of the total (ie (a) + (b) + (c) = All retailing). Dept. stores, Textile etc, Household etc and Other stores are simply an analysis of (b) All non-food.

* Whilst the ONS will not confirm the names of specific retailers within categories they did say that retailers selling wholly online with no physical outlets would be included in the Non store retailing category along with eg online  mail order retailers.

As detailed last month the figures are no longer experimental.

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The moving annual total, which we now also report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since October 2007) to an all time high of £26.1bn an increase in the month (adjusted re restatements and revisions) of 1.16% annualised 14%. This is below the long term compound average growth rate (from 2007) of 26%.

Our forecast for April at £500 million weekly sales wasn’t quite achieved  and we missed the MAT by a point. For May we will again go for the £500 million with a MAT reaching £26.4

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million ish!

We have again included our experimental graph (e & o e!) showing the relative internet and non-internet, moving annual total, sales from late 2007 by month. As before it highlights that high street sales have been and continue to go nowhere! As, we have mentioned before, the Boston Consulting Group forecast  in their report (The $4.2 Trillion opportunity) that this trend is likely to continue with the high streets market share contracting at around 2.75% a year from 2010 through 2016.

Further details and explanations are either in the ONS release on the statistics or on their website. As previously mentioned a retail convention of a 4, 4, 5 week quarter is used by the ONS. To cater for the inconvenience of years not having 364 days every 6 years or so an extra week is included in the statistics. The ONS adds this in January

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