Retail’s return has hit a rocky patch, says the home delivery expert ParcelHero. The latest retail figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal sales values in May were up 27% year-on-year, but unexpectedly fell -0.8% between April and May (and -1.4% in volume).
A -5.7% drop in food store sales offset the gains seen by non-essential shops after they reopened. Analysts are saying this is largely down to the reopening of restaurants and many hospitality venues.
ParcelHero says that’s only half the picture, however. ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., says: ‘On the face of it, a 27% increase in sales over May 2020 is great news for the High Street. Scratch the surface, however, and a very different picture emerges. Compared to February 2020, the last month before the first UK lockdown, the value of total online retail sales this May was 58.8% higher, whereas in-store sales were -1.3% lower. You cannot blame a 58.8% swing to online sales on people deciding to go out for a pub meal.
‘Despite a steep decline of -5.7% for online sales between April and May, they are still 2% up on May 2020 when everyone was being forced to shop online because of the first lockdown. E-commerce now holds a jaw-dropping 28.5% of the entire market. Online sales made up just 19% of the entire retail spend as recently as January 2020, before the pandemic first hit.
‘We are seeing an ongoing shift in the way we shop that High Street retailers cannot ignore. ParcelHero’s own independent research reveals 46% of consumers have no intention of spending as much in stores as they used to do pre-pandemic.
‘While the outlook for town centre retailers is certainly rocky, it’s not a horror story, however. An omnichannel sales strategy, embracing both shop and online sales, with both services complementing the other, will help all retailers claw their way back from the clutches of the coronavirus.