Retail sales record sharpest decline on record despite online surge

Coronavirus grocery shopper

Retail sales in April registered a record decline as comparatively subdued Easter grocery sales compounded non-essential shop shutdowns.

Total retail sales plummeted 19.1% year on year in April against an increase of 2.4% during the same month the previous year.

According to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, this represents the worst decline since records began in January 1995. This fall was sharper than the three- and 12-month average falls of 7.5% and 2.3% respectively – both of which were record declines in themselves.

Stripping out declines from stores that have been mandated to close by the government due to the ongoing pandemic, UK like-for-like sales rose 5.7%, primarily due to online sales growth.

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