Retail sales see boost but remain below pre-pandemic levels

18th November 2022 | Jack Oliver

Shop sales increased in October, but still fell short of pre-pandemic levels, according to official figures.

Data released by the Office For National Statistics (ONS) showed an increase in retail sales of 0.6% in October, following a fall of 1.5% in September.

These increases were seen in all of the main sectors except for food stores, where sales volumes fell 1.0%, 4.1% lower than their pre-coronavirus levels in February 2020.

However, sales volumes fell by 2.4% in the three months up to October, in line with a downward trend seen since summer 2021.

Non-store (predominantly online) retailers have continued to show increased performance since the pandemic. They saw a rise in sales of 1.8% in October following a fall of 2.5% in September, with sales volumes 21.2% above February 2020 levels.

The proportion of retail sales taking place online was 26.1%, broadly in line with levels seen since May.

September’s sales were affected by the bank holiday for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, which saw some businesses closing or operating differently.

Various factors have affected consumers’ spending power: Higher energy prices, rising levels of inflation and huge amounts of unemployment have all contributed to an ongoing cost-of-living crisis which has seen budgets squeezed.

Lower spending power has seen many retailers struggle with sales levels, including and Joules who recently went into administration.


Looking for more retail news? you might find these interesting