Empty stores devastated UK fashion sales in March says ONS
UK retail suffered historic sales falls during March with volumes down by 5.1% compared to February and down 5.7% by value, the largest fall since the Office for National Statistics started recording figures.
That decline came despite many stores remaining open for most of the month with the lockdown only being ordered on March 23.
Year-on-year, sales volumes fell 5.8% and values dropped by 6%.
And while those headline figures were bad enough, clothing stores suffered an even greater catastrophe with a 34.8% volume drop and 35.8% value drop compared to the month before. Volumes fell 28.4% year-on-year having risen 3.3% in March 2019.
But department stores saw a 2.2% value increase and 2.8% volume rise compared to February.
The ONS said that food stores and non-store retailing (which mainly means online) were the only sectors to show growth with food stores up 10.4%. Online sales as a proportion of all retailing reached a record high of 22.3% in March as consumers switched to online purchasing due to the pandemic.
Non-food online retail rose 16.8% year-on-year and 10.8% month-on-month while department stores’ e-sales rose 33.7% on the year and 47.4% on the month. But textile, clothing and footwear store e-sales dropped 4.4% on the year and 16.1% on the month.
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