High Street

Retail sales climb 9.2% in April

According to the ONS, retail sales represented a 10.6% growth in volume when compared to the final pre-pandemic month of February 2020

Retail sales across the UK increased 9.2% in April 2021 when compared to the previous month, as the easing of restrictions included the opening of non-essential retail across England, Wales, and Scotland during the period.

According to the ONS’s retail sales data, sales grew 42.4% year-on-year due to April 2020 being impacted by the first national lockdown.

However, retail sales still represented a 10.6% growth in volume when compared to the final pre-pandemic month of February 2020.

The businesses most affected by the reopening of non-essential retail were those in the clothing industry, which saw a 69.4% monthly spike in sales.

Moreover, overall retail sales for the three months to April 2021 climbed 2.6% in comparison to the previous three months, as department stores and automotive fuel retailers grew 9.9% and 8.9% respectively.

The return to physical retail can be seen to place a dent in the proportion of online sales in April 2021, which declined 4.7% month-by-month to 30%.

Aled Patchett, head of retail and consumer goods at Lloyds Bank, said: “April was always likely to see a further surge in sales as stores re-opened for the first time in months – with fashion retailers the ultimate beneficiaries of beer gardens re-opening and the ‘rule of six’ night out returning. 

“The high street will be hopeful that the re-emergence of indoor hospitality this week continues to bring shoppers back out in force to accelerate its recovery into the summer.”

However, he added that “optimism remains cautious” due to emerging Covid-19 variants and the “upcoming eviction moratorium deadline next month”.

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