Economy grows

Gross Domestic Product: Preliminary Estimate, Q1 2013; ONS

  • GDP increased by 0.3% in Q1 2013 compared with Q4 2012. GDP was 0.4% higher in Q1 2013 than in Q3 2011 and therefore has been broadly flat over the last 18 months.
  • Before the sharp fall in output in 2008 and 2009 the economy peaked in Q1 2008; the lowest level was in Q2 2009. GDP fell 6.3% peak to trough.
  • In Q1 2013 it was estimated that GDP was 2.6% below the peak in Q1 2008.
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High street sales flat

High street sales flat: CBI’s Distributive Trades Survey

  • 36% of firms reported that sales volumes were up on a year earlier, and 37% said they were down, giving a balance of -1%. This was the lowest balance since August 2012 (-3%) and much lower than expectations of sales growth (+15%)
  • 18% reported sales volumes to be above average for the time of year, and 45% below. The resulting balance of -27% was much weaker than expected   (-1%)
  • Sales volumes are expected to see a small fall in the year to May, with 27% of firms expecting an increase versus 33% predicting a fall, resulting in a balance of -6%. Volume of orders placed upon suppliers are also expected to fall, with 21% of retailers expecting order volumes to be up on a year ago and 36% down, giving a balance of -15%.

 

Online Retail Monitor

Online Retail Monitor: BRC Google

  • Total retail search volumes grew 16% in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the same quarter a year earlier.
  • In the first quarter, search volumes on tablet devices outpaced those on any other device, increasing 198% compared with growth on smartphone devices of 66%.
  • Total search volumes grew fastest for homewares, up 34% year-on-year. Homewares also had the highest growth in search volumes on tablets (236%) and smartphones, up by 88% year-on-year.
  • During the January Sales, total retail search volumes were at their highest, with noticeable peaks on 2 and 20 January 2013.
  • Total search volumes from UK consumers searching overseas retailers increased by 18% in Q1 compared with the previous year.

European retail analysis and forecast

European retail analysis and forecast: GfK

  • Disposable income of Europe’s households in 2011 has again climbed despite the current debt crisis and uncertainty
  • The greatest growth rates occurred in Russia, Norway, Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
  • Retailers in the 32 evaluated countries generated an approximate 2012 retail turnover of €3.09 trillion, an increase of approximately +3.7 percent over the 2011 value
  • GfK forecasts a nominal growth of approximately +1.9 percent in retail turnover in 2013

 

 

Unemployment rises

Labour market statistics, April 2013: ONS

  • The unemployment rate for December 2012 to February 2013 was 7.9% of the economically active population, up 0.2 percentage points from September to November 2012. There were 2.56 million unemployed people, up 70,000 from September to November 2012.
  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for December 2012 to February 2013 was 71.4%, virtually unchanged from September to November 2012. There were 29.70 million people in employment aged 16 and over, little changed (down 2,000) from September to November 2012.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for December 2012 to February 2013 was 22.2% (the lowest since 1991), down 0.2 percentage points from September to November 2012. There were 8.95 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 57,000 from September to November 2012.