January retail sales plunged by 8% compared to December in a slump three times worse than experts had predicted, afterward the cease of non-essential Aerial Street shops during lockdown.
The Office for Civic Statistics (ONS) said retail sales volumes dived 8.2% aftermost ages adjoin December 2020 afterwards non-essential retailers shut their doors to customers.
It was decidedly worse than analyst expectations, with a accord of economists admiration a 2.5% abatement for the month.
Non-food shops were the hardest hit aftermost month, with supermarkets and online retailers absolutely seeing some accessory growth.
Experts accept said the all-embracing abatement was not as ample as the bead apparent at the alpha of the aboriginal civic lockdown aftermost March, with some adage aliment accept ‘adapted’ to the challenges of Covid-19 measures.
Lockdown saw retail sales bead by added than 8% in January. Experts had predicted a abundant abate abatement of about 2.5%
Sales had added by 0.3% in December as Christmas appeal and the alleviation of communicable restrictions buoyed retailers briefly.
The slump aftermost ages was beneath astringent than in the aboriginal UK lockdown but retail sales volumes abide 5.5% beneath pre-pandemic levels from February aftermost year.
Sales were already afresh buoyed by a billow in online trading, with agenda spending hitting a almanac admeasurement of 35.2% of all sales.
All sectors saw a abatement in sales except for non-store retailers and aliment retailers, which appear 3.7% and 1.4% all-overs respectively.
Retail sales alone by 8% aftermost month, but experts accept acicular out the slump is boilerplate abreast as bad as the abatement apparent at the alpha of the aboriginal lockdown
Jonathan Athow, agent civic statistician for bread-and-butter statistics at the ONS, said: ‘Department and accouterment abundance sales were decidedly afflicted this month.
‘However, the abatement apparent this time was not as ample as that of the aboriginal lockdown, as some aliment accept acclimatized to the accepted circumstances, with casework such as click-and-collect allowance to beanbag the fall.
‘The allotment of online sales soared to a almanac aerial and accounted for over a third of absolute spending.
‘It was additionally a able ages for aliment stores, due to the cease of pubs and restaurants.’
It comes advanced of the Prime Minister’s advertisement on Monday February 22, back he is accepted to advertise back non-essential retailers will be able to accessible their doors as allotment of the ‘road map to recovery’.
While online retailers and aliment shops were able to see some access aftermost month, they could not accomplish up for the huge arrears in sales at non-essential retailers, brought about by Covid-19 lockdown measures
Retail leaders are additionally hopeful they will see a business ante anniversary addendum appear in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s bounce Budget abutting month.
Richard Lim, arch controlling administrator of Retail Economics, said: ‘Any drive congenital up in the countdown to Christmas was abandoned by the third civic lockdown in January.
‘However, the admeasurement of online sales accomplished new heights.
‘Consumers now seamlessly alteration to lockdown arcade habits, switching to online channels they apparent during antecedent lockdowns.
‘It’s assured that some of these behaviours will become a abiding affection of the industry as consumers embrace a new way to boutique and the industry boosts online capacity.’
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