UK retail sales in June 2020 increased 10.9% on a like-for-like basis from June 2019, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, driven primarily by online sales. On a total basis, sales increased by 3.4% in June 2020, against a decrease of 1.6% in June 2019.
Pent up consumer demand and the easing of social distancing restrictions have helped too, though store footfall is still well below pre-COVID-19 levels.
“The return to growth in retail sales will be a welcome relief to retailers up and down the country, and it is clear that the reopening of non-essential stores encouraged some to release pent-up demand from the lockdown.
The growth in home was expected, Mintel’s latest data shows that 55% of shoppers say the extended period of being indoors following the lockdown have made them prioritise spending on their home over other areas while a quarter (24%) of those in full time work say the continued working from home practices has increased their spending on office furniture.
However despite total growth returning and good performances in some categories - this is still not ‘normal’ trading. Shoppers are still cautious, 38% (as of the 9 July) say they are still trying to cut back on non-essential spending. So at present whilst purse strings are being loosened a little, this is still coming in areas that are making the current situation, extended time at home, more comfortable.
Indeed the cut back on non-essential purchasing is evidenced by the continued trials and tribulations in fashion. In 2019 32% of consumers purchased clothing to wear on holiday, whilst 26% purchased to wear to an event/occasion. With these two activities still limited, fashion in particular will be braced for an extended period of tough trading which will hopefully ease into the second half.”