British retailers have warned of the growing risk of store closings and job losses across the country after consumer spending plunged to record levels in April since coronavirus the lock is installed.
Reflecting the impact of foreclosure measures across the country, the British Retail Consortium said sales fell 19.1% last month compared to April last year, the largest drop since l The street and online store sales organization began recording sales in January 1995.
After Boris Johnson announced its intention to most stores are closed until June at least, figures show that consumer spending on items other than food – in stores such as fashion stores, furniture and jewelry stores – has plummeted by more than a third in the past three month.
With much of the street closed until at least early summer, Helen Dickinson, Director General of BRC, warned that businesses could be forced to close – threatening jobs that harm local communities – without support government.
She added: “Monday’s recovery strategy was a missed opportunity to provide a clear and detailed roadmap, outlining when and how stores will reopen after June 1, so that retail can help the economy move and the public can get all the goods they need. requires. “
Despite the steep drop in spending on the streets, the numbers revealed a boom in online sales and for essential stores that remained open. Excluding closed stores, consumer spending increased 5.7%.
Reflecting a sharp increase in stocks at the start of the crisis in March, food sales rose 6% over three months until April. Online sales excluding food products increased 57.9% in April, well above the average annual growth rate of 8.5%.
Computer equipment, household gadgets, as well as toys and baby equipment were among the most requested goods. With the country largely confined to staying at home during the health emergency, buyers also rushed to buy game consoles, bicycles, sewing and knitting items and office equipment for working at home.
Dickinson said that the coronavirus epidemic has accelerated the tendency for buyers to buy more and more goods and services online. “It is likely that as the foreclosure continues, these new buying habits will become more entrenched for many consumers.”
Separate figures from Barclaycard, which handles nearly half of all credit and debit card transactions as Britain’s largest credit card provider, indicate that sales fell 36.5% in April compared to the previous year.
The figures also revealed a dramatic recovery in supermarket food purchases, with more Britons preparing meals at home, with sales up 14.3%.
In a potential sign of long queues at large retail stores and difficulty obtaining slots for online delivery, the figures also showed that specialty food and beverage stores – including permits, independent grocers and convenience stores – recorded almost a 40% increase in sales as buyers continued to support local businesses. Online spending on home improvement and DIY also increased by a quarter.
According to a survey of 2,000 adults for Barclaycard, almost nine in ten said they had saved money on daily expenses since the lockdown started. However, confidence in job security fell sharply to 42%.
Esmée Harwood, Director of Barclaycard, said: “This has been a difficult time for retailers as consumer spending has dropped significantly under the lockdown. There are a few positive points, however, as the British have turned their attention online and turned to take-out, digital subscriptions and DIY for fun and entertainment.
“A renewed sense of community can be good news for independent businesses, with a growing desire to support local stores in life after the foreclosure.”