Retail sales skyrocket as shoppers return to stores
Retailers benefited from increased spending as shoppers flocked to main streets following the easing of restrictions that resulted in the reopening of non-essential stores after the last lockdown.
Sales in April jumped 9.2% from March, with clothing stores proving particularly popular, jumping 25.3%, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Buyers focused on clothing to enjoy new freedoms, including outerwear and knitwear, from the period shopping habits of wearing comfortable clothing to be stuck inside.
The easing of travel restrictions also led to higher fuel sales, with gas stations posting a 69.4% jump from March.
This means that retail sales have now risen in the past three months as life begins to return to normal.
But with the stores reopening, online retailers across all industries have seen sales plummet as shoppers opted to ditch their computers and smartphones and head to Main Street, the ONS added.
Compared to April 2020, during the first nationwide lockout that left shopping streets deserted, sales rose 43.4% and also rose 9.9% from last month before the Covid pandemic -19 does not hit.
Despite the return of shoppers to stores, the ONS said it has seen long-term trends emerging from the pandemic that look set to stay.
It revealed that exclusively online retailers were the biggest winners in the pandemic, with sales up 56% from April 2019 and gas station sales down 13.3% from a year ago. two years ago, home work and reduced travel have hit the sector.
There were signs that reopening pubs and restaurants to alfresco dining was starting to impact food sales, with volumes down 0.9% in April, after three months of growth.
But sector sales remain 8.6% higher than in February 2020, the ONS added.
Helen Dickinson, Managing Director of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“Demand built up during the lockdown continues to be released as the reopening of non-essential stores provided the public with a welcome opportunity to visit many of their favorite stores.
“Improving weather conditions in April translated into increased fashion sales, especially in outerwear and knitwear, as the public refreshed their wardrobes and considered meeting their friends and family. family outdoors.
“Online sales also continued to perform well, rewarding retailers who had invested in their online and delivery operations during the pandemic.”
But the boss of the retail lobbying group pointed out that the number of buyers on the main streets is still down 40% and that 530,000 retail workers remain on leave.
She added that the government must help stores maintain their growth by ensuring that a long-awaited trade rate review brings about significant changes to help retailers in the future.