Multichannel retailers have registered a larger spike in sales than their pureplay counterparts as online revenues surge overall due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Following a sluggish March, when the government forced the UK into lockdown to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus, multichannel retailers saw sales grow more in April than pureplays, according to new research by IMRG Capgemini.

The new online retail index showed online sales surged in April to a 10-year high, up 23.8% year on year.

IMRG said multichannel retailers have found some respite from lost revenues from store closures, by seeing online sales grow 35% during the period, compared to a more modest 8.3% increase for pureplay retailers.

In terms of categories, the hot weather during April saw sales of gardening equipment soar 288%. Electronic sales also experienced enormous growth, rocketing 102% year on year, while health and beauty retailers also saw a pickup, with online sales ballooning 82% during the month.

While some categories enjoyed huge revenue spikes, the picture was not so rosy across all of retail. Clothing saw demand plummet with sales down for the second month in a row, by 23.8%.

IMRG said within fashion both footwear and menswear sales were particularly poor, down 31.1% and 33.5% respectively.

Strategy and insight director at IMRG Andy Mulcahy said: “April’s data shows that demand is following a very logical pattern – with stores closed, people who would usually shop in physical locations have no choice but to switch online. Hence it is the multichannel retailers who are securing the very strong growth at the moment, though whether it will be enough to entirely offset the loss of sales from those stores seems unlikely. This is only true for some categories though; even with stores closed, online growth for multichannel clothing retailers is still down -17.5%. The demand just isn’t there at the moment.

“When that demand will return is a big question for clothing retailers. If they reopen stores – and take their staff out of furlough, bringing all the costs back into the business – but their customers don’t return quickly, there could be a very difficult period coming indeed.”