Data: Coronavirus restrictions lead to record low retail spend in 2020

Wiltshire high street face masks

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions on the retail sector have been laid bare, with customer spending across the year down to record lows.

Sales data published today by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG shows that in 2020 total retail spend fell 0.3% year-on-year, with non-food sales falling 5%, all but offsetting a 5.4% growth enjoyed by food retailers. 

With two national lockdowns and a series of increasing tiered restrictions from March 2020, which forced ‘non-essential’ retailers to periodically shutter shops, the effect on in-store sales was even more pronounced, down 24% year on year for the period. 

The BRC data showed that, despite much of England being placed into tier-four restrictions in mid-December, Christmas sales were fairly resilient, although nowhere near strong enough to offset losses throughout the year. 

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