Retail sales in 2020 witness largest annual fall in history

ONS Covid-19 pandemic lockdown
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government has invested more than £280 billion to protect jobs and livelihoods
// Retail sales in 2020 saw the largest annual fall in history
// The drop in sales came as retailers continued to suffer from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic
// Despite a 0.3% rise in sales volumes in December, the figure for 2020 as a whole saw sales drop 1.9%

New research has found that retail sales in 2020 saw the largest annual fall in history as retailers continued to suffer from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite a 0.3 per cent rise in sales volumes during December, the figure for 2020 as a whole saw sales drop 1.9 per cent, with clothing sales slumping by more than a quarter., the Office for National Statistics said.

This is lower than a 1.2 per cent increase forecast, and follows a 3.8 per cent contraction in November when sales were limited by a month-long lockdown.


READ MORE: Footfall continues to decline across UK retail


In 2020, retail sales had their largest annual fall in history.

Online spending rose by 46.1 per cent in 2020 as customers shifted online.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government has invested more than £280 billion to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK during the pandemic.

He warned that “once our economy begins to recover, we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable footing”.

On Thursday, the UK’s retail sector was forecast to report 200,000 job losses this year as Covid-19 restrictions continue to affect the industry.

The latest research from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) showed that an average of 320 stores were shuttered every week in 2020.

New figures show a bleak retail landscape for 2021, with high streets and shopping centres likely to be most affected by social distancing rules.

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