March retail sales decline due to coronavirus lockdown

Apr 17, 2020
Author: Pete Wilmer
Pete leads the Corporate Finance offering at Hawsons, Pete specialises in advising business acquisitions and disposals, raising finance, business valuations and employee ownership trusts (EOT).
Retail accountants

March retail sales decline due to coronavirus lockdown

Retail sales in March decreased by 4.3% compared to 2019, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Figures from Barclaycard advocated a large increase in supermarket sales as individuals began to stockpile food.

March was seen as a rollercoaster month as demands for food saw remarkable growth. But there was a huge decrease in sales for non-essential stores on the high street after government restrictions forced them to close.

As households began to adjust to life in isolation there were increases in sales of fitness equipment, computers, and games. Whereas sectors such as fashion lost out massively. 40% of non-food sales were made online in March.

With retailers currently under a huge amount of pressure it means that hundreds of thousands of jobs are now at risk due to the high street shutdown, said Helen Dickinson the head of the BRC.  “The crisis continues; the retail industry is at the epicentre and the tremors will be felt for a long while yet,” she said.

Fuel sales decreased as more people are working from home and fewer journeys being made to retail, leisure, and hospitality businesses.

Data suggests that supermarket sales increased by 20% and spending at off-licenses and greengrocers increased by 30% as households started to stock up food and drink.

The current message to individuals and households is to be responsible, do not panic buy and think of others, for example, NHS workers.

Please see our COVID-19 webpage to see all the business support and employee measures put in place by the government.

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Pete Wilmer

Senior Partner & Head of Corporate Finance, Sheffield
0114 266 7141