Sales in UK clothing stores close to pre-pandemic levels

Shoppers started Christmas shopping early, as clothing store sales approached pre-pandemic levels, but online sales have fallen to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic, according to the reports. official statistics.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it helped boost overall sales volume by 0.8% in October, ending a five-month string of declining or stagnating volumes.

Last month’s sales decline of 0.2 percent between September and August has been revised to 0 percent.

Officials said non-food stores were the only major retail sector to see an increase in sales volumes over the past month, with second-hand stores, toy stores, equipment stores sports and clothing stores.

Clothing stores saw sales volumes increase by 6.2%, with retailers suggesting that the anticipated Christmas trade boosted sales, with some customers wishing not to run out due to supply chain shortages plaguing the store. ‘industry.

This means clothing stores are only 0.5% lower than pre-pandemic levels recorded in February 2020, the ONS added.

Fuel sales fell sharply last month by 6.4% as they returned to more typical levels after September’s panic buying saw forecourts dry up.

Food sales volumes fell 0.3%, but remain 3.4% above pre-pandemic levels.

Online sales fell significantly to represent 27.3 percent of overall sales in October.

This meant that the proportion of online sales was at its lowest level since March 2020 – although it remains well above the pre-pandemic level of 19.7% recorded in February 2020.

ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: “After five months of no growth, retail sales picked up in October. Although overall sales are above pre-pandemic levels, the picture remains mixed.

“Clothing, department store and toy store sales saw an increase this month, with clothing stores reaching their highest level since the start of the pandemic, with some retailers suggesting that early Christmas shopping helped to strengthen trade.

“Fuel sales fell sharply during the month, as they returned to more typical levels after the September hike. Food and online sales have also fallen, although they remain above pre-pandemic levels. “

But Helen Dickinson, managing director of the British Retail Consortium, warned: “As retailers go to gigantic efforts to ensure essential food and gifts are ready for Christmas, they continue to face ongoing challenges and to supply chain issues.

“Labor shortages across supply chains – from farms to distribution – drive up costs and create empty shelves.

“Nonetheless, retailers are prioritizing Christmas essentials, and many have presented their festive offers a bit earlier to ensure everyone has time to shop for treats and decorations before the big day.” – PA

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