Retail sales soared by 13.9% in June – almost to pre-coronavirus lockdown levels

RETAIL sales soared by 13.9 per cent in June as lockdown measures were eased on the high street, according to new figures.

The amount spent on the high street in May and June was almost back to levels seen before the pandemic lockdown.

But the research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that people's spending habits have changed since March.

Sales at non-food stores, like fashion, DIY and tech shops, soared by 45.5 per cent, while fuel sales grew by 21.5 per cent but neither of them have recovered from the sharp falls experienced in March and April.

Food sales jumped by 5.3 per cent compared to the start of the pandemic, and "non-store retailing" was 53.6 per cent higher than in February.

In March, April and May, the volume of sales on the high street dropped by 9.5 per cent as the UK went into lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Interestingly, as shops reopened the amount Brits spent online fell to 31.8 per cent compared to record highs seen in May when it was at 33.3 per cent.

But June's figures are still far higher than the 20 per cent recorded in February.

Nine in 10 businesses are now up and running following the lockdown as Britain bounces back.

Footfall on the high street has now risen to two-thirds of its level from a year ago, the highest since lockdown.

ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said: "Retail continued to recover from the sharp falls seen in April, with overall sales now almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

"But there are some dramatic differences in sales across the retail industry.

"Food sales continue above their pre-pandemic levels due to the closure of cafes, restaurants and pubs.

"Online sales have risen to record levels, and now count for £3 in every £10 spent.

"On the other hand, clothing sales remain depressed and across the high street sales in non-food stores are down by around one-third on pre-pandemic levels.

"The latest three months as a whole still saw the weakest quarterly growth on record."

More to follow…

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