Skyrocketing online sales fail to offset retailers’ high street woes

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Skyrocketing online sales fail to offset retailers' high street woes
BDO said that sales across stores and online platforms fell 18.3% against the same month last year. (Image: PA Wires)
// Online sales in May surged 129.5% higher compared with the same month last year – the highest jump on record
// This did not offset high street sales for retailers, with total like-for-like sales slumping almost 1/5
// Fashion and lifestyle retailers suffered the worst during May

UK retailers saw record online sales last month as trading more than doubled but it still failed to offset the impact of empty high street stores, according to new figures.

The BDO retail sales tracker for May revealed that online sales surged 129.5 per cent higher compared with the same month last year – the highest jump on record – as shoppers moved online during the lockdown.

However, retailers still saw total like-for-like sales slump by almost a fifth for the month.


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The research said that sales across stores and online platforms fell 18.3 per cent against the same month last year, with the decline in sales slowing marginally compared with April.

Non-essential retailers, such as fashion chains, have kept their doors shut since the government-mandated lockdown was introduced in late March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

High streets are expected to pick up this month after non-essential stores were given the go-ahead to reopen from June 15.

In May, lifestyle retailers reported a 30 per cent slump in total like-for-like sales due to the closures.

Fashion sales dived 22.6 per cent for the month, although the category did see a slight improvement on previous months due to slightly higher online spending.

However, total homeware sales rose by 22 per cent in May on the back of strong growth by online retailers and the reopening of homeware and furniture stores midway through the month.

“Despite the significant pick-up in ecommerce, the monumental collapse in discretionary spend remains stark as retailers continue to face challenging headwinds,” BDO head of retail Sophie Michael said.

“As shops look to reopen on the June 15, they will face disrupted supply chains, mounting out of season stock and reduced footfall, as well as staffing uncertainty.

“These problems will be further compounded with the financial burden of implementing new measures to keep staff and customers safe.”

with PA Wires

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