News | Published June 21 2020

Partial retail recovery in May

ONS statistics revealed on Friday showed that retail sales last month increased by 12 per cent on April.

While this is a recovery in comparison to consistent falls throughout the two months prior, levels still remain well below the baseline average.

A 42 per cent rise in household goods stores, including shops renowned for DIY supplies such as Homebase and B&Q, contributed to this increase.

Non-essential retailers have started to open from this week, while in Scotland and Wales, these measures will follow around the end of the month.

The ONS reported that non-food stores saw the greatest increase in sales last month, but overall retail sales are down by some 13 per cent when compared to pre-lockdown levels in February.

A spokesperson for the ONS said: "According to retailers in this sector, consumers appeared to be carrying out home improvements while spending more time than usual in their homes."

BBC business correspondent, Emma Simpson, warned that footfall was still "far lower than normal".

"May's retail sales were always going to be better than the off-the-charts collapse in April, when the full force of the lockdown was underway.

"The decline is now reversing. But it's far from clear when retail sales will return to pre-Covid-19 levels."

Online sales, however, continued to increase, following a trend set out earlier in the year.

According to the ONS, online shopping accounted for 33.4 per cent of sales in May, an increase on April's figure of 30.8 per cent.

In a Telegraph article, it was reported that almost one-third of companies saw an increase in online sales.

CEO of Retail Economics, Richard Lim, however, explained that many high street retailers were still in "survival mode".

“Our research showed eight in 10 retailers are considering making redundancies while half are considering store closures in a range of cost-saving measures.”

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Authored by

The Parliamentary Review

June 21 2020

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