Growth

Gross Domestic Product Preliminary Estimate, Q1 2014

  • GDP increased by 0.8% in Q1 2014 compared with growth of 0.7% in Q4 2013.
  • Output increased in three of the four main industrial groupings within the economy in Q1 2014 compared with Q4 2013.
  • In Q1 2014 GDP was estimated to be 0.6% below the peak in Q1 2008. From peak to trough in 2009, the economy shrank by 7.2%.
  • GDP was 3.1% higher in Q1 2014 compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Retail Sales – non-food up, food stores down

Retail Sales, March 2014: ONS

  • In March 2014, the quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 4.2% compared with March 2013 and by 0.1% compared with February 2014.
  • The quantity bought also increased in Q1 2014 compared with Q1 2013, by 3.8%. This continues a pattern of year-on-year growth since early 2013.
  • Non-food stores saw the highest year-on-year increase (9.6%) since April 2002.  This may partly reflect the negative effect of the very cold weather a year earlier, which was the second coldest March on record, in contrast to the warm weather in March 2014.
  • Food stores, however, saw the largest year-on-year decrease (2.3%) since April 2013 (2.9%).
  • In March 2014, the amount spent in the retail industry increased by 3.9% compared with March 2013 and by 0.3% compared with February 2014.  Non-seasonally adjusted data show that the average weekly spend in the retail industry in March 2014 was £6.7 billion compared with £6.6 billion in March 2013 and £6.5 billion in February 2014.
  • Average prices of goods sold in March 2014 showed deflation of 0.5%; fuel once again provided the greatest contribution, falling by 5.8%.
  • The amount spent online increased by 7.1% in March 2014 compared with March 2013 and by 1.4% compared with February 2014.

March footfall higher

Footfall Monitor, March 2014: BRC

  • Footfall in March was 1.8% higher than a year ago, significantly up on the 2.9% fall in February and above the three-month average of 0.4%.
  • Footfall on the high street was 2.6% higher than the previous year for March, the largest rise in eleven months
  • Out-of-Town reported the greatest rise, 3.0% higher than a year ago, while footfall in shopping centers was down 0.5% on the previous year.

(Unfortunately, it looks like Easter was quieter than we all hoped)

UK retail sales down

UK retail sales, March 2014: BRC

  • UK retail sales were down 1.7% on a like-for-like basis from March 2013, when they had increased 1.9% on the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales were down 0.3%, against a 3.7% increase in March 2013.
  • The 3-month average total growth was 2.1%, just below the 12-month trend of 2.4%.
  • Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 12.8% in March versus a year earlier.
    • The online penetration rate achieved 17.3% in March.
    • Excluding online sales, total Non-food sales would have shown a decline in March.

European inflation down

European annual inflation, March 2014: Eurostat

  • Euro area annual inflation was 0.5% in March 2014, down from 0.7% in February.
    • A year earlier the rate was 1.7%.
    • Monthly inflation was 0.9% in March 2014.
  • European Union annual inflation was 0.6% in March 2014, down from 0.8% in February.
    • A year earlier the rate was 1.9%.
    • Monthly inflation was 0.7% in March 2014.

UK unemployment down

Labour Market Statistics, April 2014: ONS

  • At 2.24 million for December 2013 to February 2014, unemployment was 77,000 lower than for September to November 2013 and 320,000 lower than a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate was 6.9% of the labour force (those unemployed plus those employed) for December 2013 to February 2014, down from 7.1% for September to November 2013 and from 7.9% for a year earlier.
  • At 30.39 million for December 2013 to February 2014, employment was 239,000 higher than for September to November 2013 and 691,000 higher than a year earlier.
  • 72.6% of people aged 16 to 64 were in work for December 2013 to February 2014, up from 72.1% for September to November 2013 and from 71.4% for a year earlier.
  • 8.85 million people aged 16 to 64 were economically inactive (those out of work but not seeking or available to work) for December 2013 to February 2014. This was 86,000 lower than for September to November 2013 and 104,000 lower than a year earlier.
  • 21.9% of people aged 16 to 64 were economically inactive for December 2013 to February 2014, down from 22.2% from both September to November 2013 and from a year earlier. The rate has not been lower since October to December 1990.