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UK retail sales picked up in October

Nov 29, 2021 United Kingdom
UK retail sales picked up in October
According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), October retail sales volumes increased for the first time in six months in October 2021, most likely due to early Christmas shopping
The ONS Retail Sales report for October 2021 shows that retail sales increased by 0.8% from a revised unchanged position between August and September 2021. In fact, in the previous months, the figure had steadily declined from the peak recorded in April 2021, when the stores reopened in the aftermath of the third UK lockdown. Sales volumes were also higher by 5.8% than their pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels in February 2020. Online sales declined by 8.2, as compared to last October, and by 0.6% in September 2021, which means that, overall, only 27.3% of retail sales took place online.

The improvement in retail sales was mainly spotted in the ‘non-food stores’ category as a whole, which grew by 4.2% in October 2021. The sub-category ‘non-food stores’ registered an increase in sales volumes of 7.2% in October and, within this, second-hand good stores (charity shops and auction houses) contributed the most, being followed by sports equipment’s stores, games and toy stores. Sales in clothing stores have also increased by 6.2%, and are now 0.5% below pre-pandemic levels. The preference over these items seems to justify the early Christmas shopping.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, has declared to the BBC that retailers were already making an enormous effort to ensure Christmas stock amidst continuing supply chain disruptions. They are hoping for sustained demand in the holidays, despite higher prices on the horizon and rising of energy bills: “Labour shortages throughout the supply chains - from farms to distribution - are pushing up costs and creating some gaps on the shelves. Nonetheless, retailers are prioritizing Christmas essentials, and many have laid out their festive offerings a little earlier to ensure everyone has time to buy treats and decorations before the big day.”


Image Credits: Arturo Rey on Unsplash


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