Post-lockdown retail sales boost did not last long

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Post-lockdown sales boost did not last long
June caps off five straight months of falling like-for-like sales across high streets - although it was the best month for retail sales since February.
// Retail sales in June overall was 14.4% lower compared to last year, BDO says
// Sales were around 20% lower than last year in the first two weeks June, and only rebounded to a 7.1% decline in first week after lockdown
// The rest of the month saw a decline of 15.5%

A rapid recovery in retail sales in the first week after non-essential stores were allowed to reopen tapered off in the following days, according to new data.

Sales were around a fifth lower than last year in the first two weeks of last month, but rebounded to only 7.1 per cent down after June 15, when non-essential shops were allowed to reopen.

However, hopes of a rapid rebound may have been dealt a serious blow the next week, as the decline widened to 15.5 per cent, a tracker from BDO shows.


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Sales were still down by 14.4 per cent across the month when compared to last June – leaving further to go on the road to recovery.

“Despite the opening of non-essential retail and a strong performance of non-store sales in June, retailers have a long way to go to claw their way back following three months of closure,” BDO head of retail Sophie Michael said.

June caps off five straight months of falling like-for-like sales across high streets.

Despite this, as the economy started to take its first, uncertain steps out of lockdown, June was the best month since February.

It was helped by the opening of non-essential stores and strong sales online, and some sectors faring better than the overall malaise.

For the second month in a row, homewares retailers showed a set of positive results, as people started doing up the houses they are spending much more time in.

The homewares sector saw like-for-like sales increase by 25.5 per cent, BDO said.

“The strength of non-store sales throughout the lockdown shows that spending has not entirely dried up, and while the reopening of shops will be a welcome sign, for many it may not bring immediate results,” Michael said.

“Retailers should remain cautious and continue to invest in the ever-more critical non-store channels, given the acceleration of the continuing shift to online.

“The reality is that consumer confidence remains historically low, well below pre-crisis levels.

“Despite the government’s ambitious plans, the road to recovery will be challenging and fraught with uncertainty until the real impact of the pandemic is understood, and therefore any early signs of a high street recovery may prove to be a false dawn.”

with PA Wires

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