Retailers suffer record sales slump in 2020 amid Covid crisis

Retailers suffer record sales slump in 2020 amid Covid crisis
Fashion, lifestyle & homeware retailers were impacted by the enforced closure of non-essential stores for large parts of the year due to the Covid pandemic.
// Total retail sales fell 0.3% in 2020 compared to 2019, marking the worst annual performance on record
// BRC-KPMG’s research shows this was driven by a 5% plunge in non-food sales. Food sales grew 5.4%
// In December, total retail sales increased 1.8% and like-for-likes grew 4.8%, but overall takings still impacted by Covid restrictions

Retailers suffered their worst annual performance on record in 2020 as a Christmas uplift failed to stop sales for the year slumping lower, according to new figures.

The latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor revealed that total sales fell 0.3 per cent for the year against 2019, representing the worst year-on-year change since the survey started in 1995.

The slump was driven by a five per cent plunge in non-food sales as fashion, lifestyle and homeware retailers were impacted by the enforced closure of non-essential stores for large parts of the year due to the Covid pandemic.


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“Covid has led to 2020 being the worst year on record for retail sales growth,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said,

“Physical non-food stores – including all of non-essential retail – saw sales drop by a quarter compared with 2019.

“Christmas offered little respite for these retailers, as many shops were forced to shut during the peak trading period.”

However, food sales increased by 5.4 per cent during the year as shoppers flocked to supermarkets and increased online food shopping to ensure they were stocked up during the pandemic.

In December, total retail sales increased by 1.8 per cent as shoppers spent more in the run-up to Christmas.

Like-for-like sales for the month were up 4.8 per cent but overall shop takings were still impacted by restrictions and temporary closures.

Online non-food sales jumped by 44.8 per cent in December, according to the new figures, as a higher proportion of shopping took place online.

“In the most important month for the retail industry, there was some positive growth due to the ongoing shift of expenditure from other categories such as travel and leisure,” KPMG UK head of retail Paul Martin said.

“Once again we saw big swings in the types of products being purchased and the channels used for shopping, with much of the growth taking place online where nearly half of all non-food purchases were made.

“Further restrictions and the closure of many non-essential shops resulted in a dismal December performance for those retailers on the high street and conditions will continue to be challenging as we enter another national lockdown.”

with PA Wires

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