Bad news for the UK high street this morning, which suffered a 3.8% month-on-month slump in retail sales as the national lockdown forced stores to close their doors in November.
It marked the largest monthly decline since the UK’s first national lockdown in April and follows a 1.3% increase in October.
Unsurprisingly, the only bright spot was across food stores, which logged a 3.1% rise in sales, while consumers seeking home comforts sent household goods sales up 1.6%.
The story was far more dire for clothing store sales which contracted 19%, as did fuel sales, which decreased by 16.6%.
On an annual basis, growth halved to 2.4% from 5.8%, with retailers suggesting customers had brought forward their Christmas spending.
Ulas Akincilar, Head of Trading at the online trading platform, INFINOX, writes:
“November’s patchwork of lockdowns across the UK turned what should be a busy month for retailers into a dysfunctional one.
“Despite the headline falls in sales, in the circumstances these figures are far from bad. Overall volumes were up 2.4% on the same time last year, as some shoppers brought forward their Christmas spending.
“But that success came at the cost of profitability as prices were slashed. Black Friday stretched over weeks rather than a weekend, in terms of discounting if not footfall.
“With non-essential physical shops closed for much of the month, a huge chunk of the action moved online. Internet retailers claimed almost one in every three Pounds spent during the month, up 75% on their share of spend in November last year.”