Apr 24, 2020
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Empty stores devastated UK fashion sales in March says ONS

Apr 24, 2020

UK retail suffered historic sales falls during March with volumes down by 5.1% compared to February and down 5.7% by value, the largest fall since the Office for National Statistics started recording figures. 

Empty shops were bad news for the fashion sector last month - DR

That decline came despite many stores remaining open for most of the month with the lockdown only being ordered on March 23.

Year-on-year, sales volumes fell 5.8% and values dropped by 6%.

And while those headline figures were bad enough, clothing stores suffered an even greater catastrophe with a 34.8% volume drop and 35.8% value drop compared to the month before. Volumes fell 28.4% year-on-year having risen 3.3% in March 2019.

But department stores saw a 2.2% value increase and 2.8% volume rise compared to February.

The ONS said that food stores and non-store retailing (which mainly means online) were the only sectors to show growth with food stores up 10.4%. Online sales as a proportion of all retailing reached a record high of 22.3% in March as consumers switched to online purchasing due to the pandemic.

Non-food online retail rose 16.8% year-on-year and 10.8% month-on-month while department stores’ e-sales rose 33.7% on the year and 47.4% on the month. But textile, clothing and footwear store e-sales dropped 4.4% on the year and 16.1% on the month.

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