The May update of the CSO’s Retail Sales Index doesn’t show a whole lot of movement. The May readings (though provisional) of both the value and volume for the series of the index excluding motor trades are almost exactly the same as those recorded six months ago in December 2013. There has been some fluctuation in the interim but there has been no overall positive or negative movement in the past six months.
It can be seen that both series are ahead of where they were in the first half of 2013. Thus the annual changes paint a slightly healthier picture. The recent annual increases are the fastest since early 2008 and are only matched by those that were seen around the time of the temporary fillip that resulted from the ‘digital switchover’ of the broadcast television signal in October 2012.
However, unless there are increases over the coming months to match those seen towards the end of 2013 the annual changes will reduce to zero. Still, on the goods side at least, we are likely to see an annual increase in Consumption Expenditure for H1 2014 compared to H1 2013.
The monthly changes again highlight that it is difficult to read anything into changes over a short timeframe given the volatility in the series.
Overall, retail sales are ahead of where they were this time last year but the growth of the final few months of 2013 has not continued into 2014.Tweet