British retail sales suffer "largest annual fall in history" by 2020

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

UK's shops lost their biggest annual declines in history as a Coronavirus crisis hit the High Street in 2020.

Despite a 0.3 per cent rise in December, full-year 2020 sales fell 1.9 per cent, with clothing sales falling by more than a quarter.

It is the biggest drop on record, the Office for National Statistics said.

Online spending rose by 46.1 per cent in 2020, though.

Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Economic Councellor at the ONS, said: "Retail sales for 2020 saw their largest annual fall in history as the impact of the pandemic took its toll."

"For retailers, this doubles down the importance of an online shopfront and engaging virtual shopping experience. Whilst the role of the physical store will remain competitive, the wider retail landscape will likely see reinvention. A new era of "hyper-localisation" hyper-localisation "(the concept of self-localisation) and" fast failure "that may well usher in a revitalised and more relevant High Street in the longer term.

Non-essential retailers were allowed to open again in December at the start of the year following last month's closure.

With non-essential retail trade remaining closed down under state regulation, most economists expect the coming fiscal quarter to show a contraction.