Sales growth slows during lockdown
Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed an 7.6% increase in overall sales (retail sales excluding fuel: J3L2), Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“Retail sales growth slowed slightly, as many shops in England were forced to close during the November lockdown. Clothing, footwear and bookshops were all particularly badly affected by the forced closure over the month, including Black Friday, and saw sales drop significantly. On the other hand, higher sales from retailers who remained open, bolstered by stronger online and click-and-collect operations, kept growth positive overall in the run up to Christmas.
“This headline growth figure masks significant challenges for many businesses on high streets across the country, as sales have plummeted and they face the threat of rising costs which they cannot afford. The government should look to support these businesses through a targeted extension to coronavirus business rates relief or we will see further unnecessary store closures and job losses.”