The BRC has released figures covering the five weeks from 30th August-3rd October 2020, showing a sales increase of 5.6% on a total basis.
In September, UK retail sales increased 6.1% on a like-for-like basis from September 2019, when they had decreased 1.3% from the preceding year.
Over the three months to September, in-store sales of non-food items declined 12.3% on a total and 9.5% on a like-for-like basis. This is better than the six-month and 12-month total average declines of 29.6% and 18.8% respectively. Over the three-months to September, non-food retail sales increased by 5.2% on a like-for-like basis and 3.2% on a total basis.
Online non-food sales increased by 36.7% in September, against a growth of 3.5% in September 2019. This is below the three-month average of 39.7% but above the 12-month average of 26.3%.
“September saw a big improvement in retail sales growth, however sales over the last six months are still down on the previous year,” said Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium. “Tighter coronavirus restrictions have continued to hold back clothing and footwear, particularly as the Government further restricts social events. With office workers still at home for foreseeable future, the sales of electronics, household goods and home office products have remained high.
“September sales have also given retailers early signs that consumers are starting their Christmas shopping earlier this year, which retailers are encouraging their customers to do in order to manage demand at Christmas and keep people safe. However, store-based sales, excluding food are still in double-digit decline.
“The industry is beginning to recover, however, forced store or warehouse closures during any future lockdowns could put paid to this progress. Retailers have invested hundreds of millions in making their premises COVID-secure, with perspex screens, social distancing, additional staff and hygiene measures.