UK Retail Sales Up 2.1% In February Despite Lockdown

UK Retail Sales Up 2.1% In February Despite Lockdown. image: Wikimedia

UK retail sales are up 2.1 per cent in February despite the lockdown.

British retail sales were up by 2.1 per cent in February from January, helped in part by consumers buying outdoor furniture ahead of the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions which will allow people to meet in gardens.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a month-on-month increase of 2.1 per cent. Retail sales were down 3.7 per cent compared with February 2020, before the pandemic struck most Western economies.

Many retailers have rushed to improve or launch their online shopping operations over the past year as restrictions saw many high street brands closing down. The Office for National Statistics said the share of shopping done online stood at a record high of 36.1 per cent.

The Bank of England says the degree to which households spend the savings they have racked up while being stuck at home will determine the speed of Britain’s recovery from its deepest economic shock in more than three centuries.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to allow groups of up to six people to meet in gardens from March 29 while non-essential retailers are expected to reopen on April 12.

On Thursday, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed retailers suffered another difficult month in March but expectations for sales for the month ahead turned positive for the first time since December 2019.

“Household goods also fared well, with feedback suggesting spending on home improvement and outdoor products boosted sales as consumers prepared for an easing of lockdown restrictions,” ONS statistician Jonathan Athow said. “However, clothing stores continue to struggle with sales down more than half on their pre-pandemic level.”

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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