Total UK sales fell in the month of May, but toys and baby equipment bucked the trend.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has released data for the month of May, showing the continued impact of lockdowns on the highstreet. Total UK sales fell 5.9% compared with the previous year, a direct result of temporarily shuttered stores. Online sales of non-food product groups surged 60.2%, but did little to cushion the blow from the drop in highstreet spending. Online sales accounted for almost 62% of all retail sales in May, according to the survey. In April, online sales had accounted for about 70% of all sales; previously it was 43.5% in March and 31% in February. Prior to February, online sales had only accounted for around 20% of all sales.
While sales of health and beauty products, furniture, clothing, footwear and jewellery all fell, toys and baby equipment are among those products bucking the trend, as families continue to look for at-home entertainment and play ideas.
“For those shops whose doors remain shuttered, May was once again a tough month and even those who stayed open suffered reduced footfall and huge costs implementing social distancing measures,” commented the BRC’s chief executive Helen Dickinson. “While the month showed record growth in online sales, many retailers will be anxious to see whether demand returns to our High Streets when non-essential shops reopen from 15th June.”
Paul Martin, the UK head of retail at KPMG, added: “The disparity between different types of retailers and categories continues, with clear divides between essential and online versus non-essential and physical.”