UK retail sales volumes surge to retain “strong growth”

20 Nov 2020

UK retail sales volumes last month rose 1.2% compared to September, representing a sixth consecutive month of growth.
According to findings from the Office for National Statistics, sales were 5.8% higher in October than the same time in 2019, with retailers reporting consumers had started their Christmas shopping earlier than usual.
Online sales rose by 52.8%, Sky News reports, whilst store sales fell 3.3% due to the impact of the coronavirus restrictions.
In addition, clothing sales fell 14% last month, with online sales increasing 17.1% and store sales down 22.1%. 

Food sales received a boost, up 3.4%, bolstered by a rise in online shopping.
According to deputy national statistician for economic statistics, Jonathan Athow: "Despite the introduction of some local lockdowns in October, retail sales continued its recent run of strong growth.
"Feedback from shops suggested some consumers may have brought forward their Christmas shopping, ahead of potential further restrictions. Online stores also saw strong sales, boosted by widespread offers.
"However, the slow recovery in clothing sales has stalled after five consecutive months of increased sales,” he added.
Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC commented: "There was a recovery in almost every category of the sector, and measuring the period to 31 October, these figures don't include the last minute rush to the high street after the second lockdown was announced.
"In fact, the only category to show a material decline in sales was fashion, with less demand for occasionwear and workwear continuing to hit an already beleaguered part of the market.
"The closure of non-essential stores and slump in consumer sentiment earlier this month will severely hamper the sector with little over a month to go to Christmas and Black Friday just a week away.”
She continued: "Looking ahead to December, with online delivery capacity already stretched to its limits, retailers will be hoping for a swift lifting of lockdown restrictions and that consumers continue to show they can bounce back into spending mode, as they did after the first lockdown was lifted in June."