Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed an 1.3% decrease in overall sales (non-seasonally adjusted retail sales excluding fuel: J3L2), Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

“Retail sales fell for the second consecutive month in February, and non-food stores saw their fourteenth month of decline with a massive 25% drop. UK stores have now lost a whopping £27 billion from lost sales during the three lockdowns. This is already impacting retail employment, with 67,000 retail jobs lost between December 2019 and 2020. While the Prime Minister’s roadmap helped boost spending on back-to-school items, consumer demand remained weak overall. Meanwhile, online sales remained strong, providing a lifeline for customers, and rewarding those retailers who have adapted and grown their digital offering over the last 12 months.

“Retail remains an essential part in unlocking consumer demand and driving forward the country’s economic recovery. It is essential that all retailers are able to open – and stay open – from April 12th, and that Government continues to offer necessary support to businesses as many begin the process of trading their way back to growth. The ongoing business rates consultation offers a pathway to supporting investment in retail stores and warehouses, but only if Government acts quickly to fix this broken tax system and its damaging effects on the industry.

·        All retailing, Excluding Automotive fuel, All businesses (J3L2): -1.3%

·        All retailing, Excluding Automotive fuel, Large businesses (J3L3): -1.9%

·        Predominantly Non-food Stores, All Businesses (EAIB): -24.2%

·        Predominantly Non-food Stores, Large Businesses (EAIV): -25.4%

·        Internet sales, all retail growth (KP3T): 78.6%

·        Online penetration rate for all retail (J4MC): 34.5%