Retail sales volumes fell by 2.5% between June and July 2021; looking more broadly, however, they were up by 5.2% in the three months to July compared with the previous three months and are 5.8% higher than their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic February 2020 levels.
Food store sales volumes fell by 1.5% in July 2021, following an increase in the previous month when sales were positively boosted by the start of the Euro 2020 football championship.
Given the choice, after months of restrictions, consumers have been spending their cash on fun rather than fripperies. Retail sales in July were down, pretty much across the board as life found it’s post lockdown level.
The Olympics didn’t lend itself to snack laden party tables and unseasonable showers kept many motorists out of their vehicles and away from the petrol forecourt.
Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “Non-food saw the biggest drop, but after eighteen months of doing everything at home consumers have probably got all the computing and sporting equipment they need, and bargain hunters have picked over the cream of the second-hand crop. Online habits haven’t been broken and spend rose a touch in July; why waste time searching the shelves for that perfect outfit when you can get them at the touch of a button and you’re guaranteed your size will be in stock.
“But retailers should take heart. Spend is up considerably on this time last year and remains above levels seen in February 2020, particularly when it comes to food, and once summer gets finished with its last hurrah, consumers will have less competition for their time and money. The one big variable is supply. What will the shelves look like in that all important golden quarter? Will people be prepared to pay a little more for the things they want? And will any of our freedoms need to be curtailed once more?”