Growth lowest for six years

GDP monthly estimate, UK: December 2018

Headline annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 1.4% in 2018, the lowest it has been in six years. Meanwhile, the services sector had annual growth of 1.7%, the lowest since 2011 and the production sector had annual growth of 0.7%, the lowest since 2013. Construction annual growth was 0.6%, the lowest since 2012. Construction growth contracted in Quarter 4 2018, the first negative three-month growth since May 2018

UK gross domestic product grew by 0.2% in Quarter 4 2018

Rolling three-month growth slowed further to 0.2%, after growth of 0.3% in November 2018

GDP fell by 0.4% in December 2018

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Inflation up to 2.5%

Consumer price inflation, UK: July 2018 – ONS

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.5% in July 2018, up from 2.4% in June 2018.

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.3% in July 2018, unchanged from June 2018.
  • Rising prices for computer games and transport fares produced the largest upward contributions to change in the 12-month rate between June and July 2018, although computer game prices tend to be highly variable from month to month.
  • The upward effects were offset by falls in prices for clothing and footwear, and the removal of initial charges for investment in some unit trusts.
  • Prices for clothing and footwear fell by 0.4% between July 2017 and July 2018, the first time the 12-month rate has been negative since October 2016.

Inflation falls

Consumer price inflation, UK: February 2018: ONS

  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.7% in February 2018, down from 3.0% in January 2018.
  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.5% in February 2018, down from 2.7% in January 2018.
  • The largest downward contributions to the change in the rate came from transport and food prices, which rose by less than a year ago.
  • Falling prices for accommodation services also had a downward effect.
  • Rising prices for footwear produced the largest, partially offsetting, upward contribution.

Retail Sales

Retail sales in Great Britain: Aug 2016 – ONS

  • In August 2016, the quantity bought (volume) of retail sales is estimated to have increased by 6.2% compared with August 2015; all store types except textile, clothing and footwear, and household goods showed growth with the main contribution coming from food stores.
  • The quantity bought decreased by 0.2% compared with July 2016; the largest contribution to the decrease came from non-food stores which was offset by increases in non-store retailing, predominantly food stores and petrol stations.
  • The underlying pattern in the retail sector is still one of growth with the 3 month on 3 month movement in the quantity bought increasing by 1.6%.
  • The amount spent (value) in the retail industry increased by 4.1% compared with August 2015 and decreased by 0.5% compared with July 2016.
  • The amount spent online increased by 18.5% compared with August 2015 and increased by 0.4% compared with July 2016.
  • Non-seasonally adjusted average store prices (including petrol stations) fell by 1.9% in August 2016 compared with August 2015.

Retail sales growth

Retail Sales, September 2015: ONS

  • Year-on-year estimates in the quantity bought in the retail industry continued to show growth for the 29th consecutive month in September 2015, increasing by 6.5% compared with September 2014.
  • The underlying pattern in the data, as suggested by the 3 month on 3 month movement in the quantity bought, showed growth for the 22nd consecutive month, increasing by 0.9%.
  • Compared with August 2015, the quantity bought in the retail industry is estimated to have increased by 1.9%.
  • Average store prices (including petrol stations) fell by 3.6% in September 2015 compared with September 2014, the 15th consecutive month of year-on-year price falls.
  • The amount spent in the retail industry increased by 2.7% in September 2015 compared with September 2014 and by 1.4% compared with August 2015.
  • The value of online sales increased by 15.2% in September 2015 compared with September 2014 and increased by 4.5% compared with August 2015

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)

More women starting businesses on the High Street

Female entrepreneurs take charge of high street growth: FSB

  • Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) data used in a BBC report shows the UK’s high streets have seen a dramatic number of women starting-up businesses than at any previous time
  • Half (49.5%) of small firms established in the past two years in retail, or hotels, catering and leisure are owned primarily by women
  • This is in stark contrast to high street businesses started more than 20 years ago. When the FSB last surveyed its members it found that only a quarter (24%) of these businesses were primarily female owned