UK January retail sales slump amid lockdown

Sales plummeted in the UK in January as stores remained shut amid the latest national lockdown, according to recent figures.

January 2021 saw retail sales volumes decrease by 8.2 percent compared to December 2020, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Retail sales volumes remain 5.5 percent below pre-pandemic levels. However, these figures aren’t nearly as severe as April 2020, during the first UK lockdown when retail sales fell 22.5 percent.

ONS reported that all sectors saw a monthly decline in volume sales in January except for non-store retailers and food stores which reported growth of 3.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, compared to December 2020.

Clothing stores had a monthly decline of 35.6 percent in terms of amount spent and 34.6 percent in the quantity bought.

Due to non-essential shops’ closures, consumers shifted their buying habits from physical retailers to online retailers and supermarkets to purchase clothing products. During January 2021, 44.2 percent of clothing products were sold by non-store retailers, said ONS.

The proportion of online sales soared to 35.2 percent in January 2021, the highest on record, compared to 29.6 percent in December 2020 and 19.5 percent reported in January 2020.

The Prime Minister is expected to make an announcement about the reopening of non-essential retailers on February 22.

Photo credit: FashionUnited


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