Commenting on the Office of National Statistics Retail sales figures for June 2020
Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said:
“With nearly 95% of UK shops open by the end of the month, June was always going to be the first critical indicator in the recovery of the retail sector.
“And, at first glance, there are reasons to be cheerful. Overall retail sales, excluding fuel, grew by 1.5% compared to last year, despite non-essential stores being closed in England for the first half of the month. Footfall was still less than half of normal levels at the end of June.
“But not all stores fared equally. With restaurants and pubs still closed, and many of us still working at home, it’s no surprise that supermarkets continued to trade above pre-lockdown levels.
“Online continued to account for over 30% of sales, compared with under 20% before the pandemic. Together they more than made up for the continued shortfall in sales in non-grocery stores.
“Even so, with store-based non-food sales now only a third lower than pre-pandemic levels, there are signs that the resilience in consumer sentiment we identified last month has translated into good news for many high street operators, particularly DIY and household goods stores as consumers spend more time at home.
“The main disappointment will be for fashion retailers - still trading at less than 50% of normal levels. So, with as much as £15 billion of seasonal stock to clear, there could well be bargains for patient shoppers in the month ahead.
“Looking ahead to the rest of summer, I’m cautiously optimistic that retail will continue its V-shaped recovery in the short term, as July brings increased high street footfall with the reopening of leisure venues.
“Whether this continues for the rest of 2020 will depend on consumer confidence and employment levels.”
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