Retail sales in November were down 3.8% compared to the previous month, according to the latest figures published by the ONS.
The office reported that the decline in sales was a result of many stores’ decisions to cease trading following government guidance during the coronavirus pandemic.
Figures show that in November, clothing store sales saw a 19% fall in sale volumes when compared with the previous month.
Nonetheless, food stores and household goods stores were the only sectors to show growth in the period, rising 3.1% and 1.6% respectively.
Despite the overall monthly fall, total sales remain above their pre-pandemic levels, with the year-on-year growth rate in the volume of retail sales increasing by 2.4%. The ONS suggested that this increase could be a result of consumers buying Christmas goods and gifts early.
In addition, figures show that online retailing accounted for 31.4% of total retailing compared with 28.6% in October 2020, with an overall growth of 74.7% in the value of sales when compared with November 2019.
The ONS said: “Non-store retailing has shown strength over the course of the pandemic despite a reduction in sales this month.
“The decline in November 2020 can be attributed to earlier large promotions in October, which significantly increased sales in the sector. Despite this decline, volume sales within non-store retailing remained 42% higher than February.”