Retail sales in the UK increased by 3.4% year-on-year in June compared to a 1.6% decline in the same period last year, registering the highest growth since May 2018, according to the latest data from the BRC–KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
On a like-for-like basis, retail sales increased by 10.9% compared to June 2019, when they dropped by 2.2% compared to the preceding year.
Chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson, commented, “June finally saw a return to growth in total sales, primarily driven by online as a result of lockdown measures being eased and pent up demand being released.
“Despite footfall still being well below pre-coronavirus levels, the average spend was up as consumers made the most of their occasional shopping trips.”
Over the three months to June, food sales increased 7.3% on a like-for-like basis and 3.8% on a total basis, higher than the 12-month total average growth of 2.7%.
Commenting on the performance of the food and drinks sector, CEO of IGD, Susan Barratt, said, “The continued warm weather and further easing of lockdown restrictions contributed to another month of high growth in sales for food and grocery retail.
“With more opportunities to socialise in the sun and sport back on TV, shoppers have been enjoying BBQs and picnics. However, with more retail and out-of-home outlets now up and running, the sector will find more competition for spend from July.”
In-store sales of non-food items declined 46.8% on a total and 11.3% on a like-for-like basis in this period, lower than than the 12-month total average decline of 16.5%.
Online non-food sales increased by 48.2% year on year and remained above the 12-month average growth of 17.1%.
The non-food online penetration rate increased from 33.1% in June 2019 to 50.7% in June 2020, data showed.
Dickinson urged the UK Government to remain open to further action to boost consumer demand and take steps to support with rent costs.
She added, “Though a month of growth is welcome news, retail is not out of the woods yet. The pandemic continues to pose huge challenges to the industry, with ongoing store closures and job losses across the UK.”
UK head of retail at KPMG, Paul Martin, stated, “Retailers won’t be picking up where they left off and months of reduced or no sales will threaten the survival of many.
“The pandemic has significantly changed consumer behaviour, and it’s therefore vital that routes to market and ways of working are adapted with that fact in mind.”