UK retail sales up by 9.5%
According to the British retail consortium, retail sales in the UK jumped by 9.5%. The increase has been attributed to the vaccine rollout, the government's steps to ease the restrictions, and the purchase of school and other household items.
The British retail consortium added that the current high might be followed by a drastic drop in sales. The chief executive of BRC, Helen Dickson, said retailers have spent thousands of pounds ensuring their businesses are COVID-19 compliant, but data has shown that there is always a slump in demand after restrictions are lifted.
The British retail consortium said the government's announcement boosted sales in February
The BRC said the prime minister's four-phase plan to ease restrictions in Britain boosted the amount of shopping carried out in retail and online stores. Online sales of non-food items such as technology, home accessories, school-related items increased by 82%. Food-related sales in supermarkets increased by 7.6%.
According to an owner of a school uniform shop, the business has survived the pandemic through its online store. The business reportedly saw a 2000% increase in online sales of school uniforms, especially boys' trousers. The owner added that he was confident that the business's retail sales would pick up after the pandemic, as people would want to try on clothes.
Data shows there is a shift in buyer behavior
There has been a shift in the type of items consumers are currently buying compared to the items they were purchasing at the start of 2020. Toilet roll demand fell by 12% last month, and demand for food items such as rice and grains fell by 19% and 15% respectively. The data shows that the British people are preparing for the lockdown to be lifted.
Paul Martin, KPMG's head of retail, said retailers are looking forward to opening their stores to the public. He added that the lifeline provided by the government would help retailers during the short term, but they should be prepared for tough times ahead.