Wholesale Trade Sales Rise 6.9% in April, Fall 0.6% Over Three Months

  • Wholesale trade sales increased by 6.9% in April 2024, showing month-on-month growth.
  • The three-month comparison saw a 0.4% increase, indicating stability in the sector.
  • Solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels sales declined, impacting overall sector performance negatively.

Wholesale trade sales rose 1.2% in April 2024 compared to April 2023, measured in constant 2019 prices. This reflects growth in the sector despite economic challenges.

Month-on-Month Gains

Seasonally adjusted sales increased 6.9% in April 2024 compared to March 2024. This follows a 5.2% decline in March and a 2.3% increase in February. The sales growth in April suggests a rebound from the previous month’s drop.

MonthSales Change

Three-Month Comparison

In the three months ending April 2024, seasonally adjusted sales increased by 0.4% compared to the previous three months. This modest growth indicates stability in the wholesale trade sector.

Nominal Sales Increase

Measured in current prices, wholesale trade sales rose 6.7% in April 2024 compared to April 2023. The nominal increase shows that the sector is growing when inflation is taken into account.

Key Contributors to Growth

The main contributors to the nominal sales increase were dealers in machinery, equipment, and supplies, which rose by 13.4%, contributing 1.9 percentage points. ‘Other’ goods dealers also saw a significant rise of 29.2%, contributing 1.8 percentage points.

CategorySales ChangeContribution
Machinery, equipment, supplies+13.4%+1.9 percentage points
Other goods+29.2%+1.8 percentage points

Negative Contributions

The main negative contributor was dealers in solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels and related products, which saw a decline of 6.7%, contributing -2.0 percentage points.

CategorySales ChangeContribution
Fuels and related products-6.7%-2.0 percentage points

Three-Month Decline

Wholesale trade sales decreased by 0.6% in the three months ended April 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. The main negative contributor was dealers in solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels and related products, with a 7.3% decline, contributing -2.0 percentage points. On the positive side, dealers in machinery, equipment, and supplies saw a 5.3% increase, contributing 0.8 percentage points.

CategorySales ChangeContribution
Fuels and related products-7.3%-2.0 percentage points
Machinery, equipment, supplies+5.3%+0.8 percentage points

Sector Analysis

The wholesale trade sector’s performance in April 2024 highlights both growth and challenges. While sales increased in real terms and month-on-month figures showed a rebound, the three-month comparison indicates some underlying issues. The growth in machinery, equipment, and supplies, as well as ‘other’ goods, is a positive sign. However, the decline in fuel-related products is a concern, reflecting broader issues in the energy market.

Economic Implications

The increase in wholesale trade sales at constant prices suggests resilience in the sector. However, the mixed results in nominal terms indicate that inflation and other economic factors are affecting different categories unevenly. The decline in fuel-related sales may reflect high energy prices and reduced demand, impacting overall sector growth.

Looking Ahead

The wholesale trade sector needs to navigate these mixed signals. Companies should focus on growth areas such as machinery and ‘other’ goods. Addressing the challenges in the fuel market will also be crucial for overall sector health.


April 2024’s wholesale trade sales data presents a complex picture. While there are signs of growth, challenges remain, particularly in the energy sector. The sector’s resilience in real terms is promising, but nominal terms reveal areas needing attention. Companies must adapt to these mixed signals to ensure sustained growth and stability in the coming months.

Summary Table

Real Terms (April 2023 vs. 2024)+1.2%
Month-on-Month (April vs. March)+6.9%
Three-Month Comparison+0.4%
Nominal Terms (April 2023 vs. 2024)+6.7%
Main Positive ContributorMachinery, equipment, supplies (+13.4%)
Main Negative ContributorFuels and related products (-6.7%)
Three-Month Decline (2023 vs. 2024)-0.6%