Furniture retail sales fell during October; carpets also down

Furniture retail sales fell during October on last month but did increase against an annual comparison.

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, furniture and lighting retail sales decreased 13.3% to £1.3bn from £1.5bn in September. Compared to the previous year, sales rose 8.3% from £1.2bn.

Floorcovering retail sales also fell month-on-month, down by 9.3% to £245.2m from £270.4m. Compared to the same time last year, sales increased by 13.4% from £216.1m.

Household goods stores (such as furniture stores) sales volumes fell by 4% in October 2022, 11.8% below their February 2020 levels. Department stores sales volumes fell by 0.3% over the month of October 2022.

Overall, total retail sales volume (quantity bought) in October fell by 6.1%, while the value (amount spent) increased by 4.8% to £38.6bn year-on-year. On a monthly comparison, volumes were up 0.6%, with the value spent also up by 1.8%.

The proportion of retail sales taking place online was 26.1% in October 2022; this has remained at a broadly consistent level since May 2022.

Commenting on the retail sales figures for the month, ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “Retail sales increased in October, although this is likely a rebound effect after weak sales last month as many retailers closed or operated differently on the extra bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral. Looking at the broader picture, retail sales continue their downward trend seen since summer 2021 and are below where they were pre-pandemic.”

Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Rising retail sales continue to mask a fall in volumes, as inflation continued to inflict pain on retailers and consumers alike. There were drops in purchases of household electricals, while key goods such as pharmaceuticals and footwear held up slightly better.

“Consumer confidence improved slightly as the political turmoil of recent months began to abate. Retailers are hoping sales will pick up a little as the World Cup and festive season approaches, but there is little chance of them catching up with current double-digit inflation.”

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