// Retail sales dived 45% in the year ending February, according to CBI
// Retailers also predicted a sharper decline for March, at 62%, the worst projection since records began in 1983
// However, the CBI survey’s index of internet retail sales hit a record high
UK retail sales plunged in the year to February due to the current nationwide lockdown, while retailer expectations for the next month have fallen to their lowest on record, according to new figures.
The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest retail survey revealed a decline in both sales volumes and orders over the past year.
It said that grocers were the only retailers to see any growth in sales volumes in the 12-month period amid Covid-19 restrictions.
- Online spending accounted for 35.2% of retail sales in January
- Retail sales in 2020 witness largest annual fall in history
The CBI revealed a 45 per cent decline in sales for the period.
Retailers also predicted a much sharper decline for March, at 62 per cent, representing the worst projection since records began in 1983.
It also said the index for retail orders stood at -36 per cent, a slight improvement on January’s data.
In another sign of changing consumer habits during lockdown, the survey’s index of internet retail sales hit a record high.
The news comes after the Prime Minister laid out his road map out of current coronavirus restrictions, with non-essential retailers due to reopen from April 12 at the earliest.
“With lockdown measures still in place, trading conditions remain extremely difficult for retailers,” CBI principal economist Ben Jones said.
“Retailers will welcome the clarity on reopening provided by the Government’s road map, which suggests a return to some semblance of normality is on the horizon.
“But with activity in town and city centres likely to take some time to fully recover, many retailers are still facing a difficult few months.
“They will be looking to the government to extend support in parallel with wider restrictions when the Chancellor unveils his budget next week.”
with PA Wires