Furniture retail sales down again; flooring picks up

Furniture retail sales fell again during August on last month and against an annual comparison, marking the lowest figure so far this year.

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, furniture and lighting retail sales decreased 6.7% to £1.11bn from £1.19bn in July. Compared to the previous year, sales fell 2.6% from £1.14bn.

Floorcovering retail sales rose down month-on-month by 6.2% to £214.7m from £202m. Compared to the same time last year, sales increased by 20.5% from £178.1m.

Household goods stores sales volumes fell by 1.1% in August 2022, mainly because of falls in furniture and lighting stores. Feedback from retailers suggests that consumers are cutting back on spending because of increased prices and affordability concerns. Department store sales volumes fell by 2.7%.

Overall, total retail sales volume (quantity bought) in August fell by 5.4%, while the value (amount spent) increased by 5.4% to £36.7bn year-on-year. On a monthly comparison, volumes were down 1.6%, with the value spent also down by 1.7%.

The proportion of retail sales online fell to 25.7% in August 2022 from 26.3% in July 2022; despite this fall, it remains significantly above pre-coronavirus levels (19.8% in February 2020).

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