Online sales fall in April compared to last year, but remain well ahead of 2019 before the pandemic: BRC/Barclaycard – Industry

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Online sales growth continued to decline in April from the lockdown boom that peaked a year ago. last year, but remains well ahead of pre-pandemic 2019, according to the latest data. Figures from BRC, IMRG and Barclaycard show how retail sales in April 2022 compare, variably, to the same month last year and the same month in 2019, before the pandemic began.

Last April, non-essential retail businesses opened from the third UK lockdown on April 12.

BRC: Retail sales fall year over year – with steeper drop online

Online sales fell 13.9% in April 2022, a year after a month in which they rose 11.3%, according to the BRC-KPMG retail sales index for April 2022. The report suggests that 38.6% of non-food sales took place online, up from 45.1% in April 2021 – but up from 19.9% ​​of online sales before the 2019 pandemic.

Meanwhile, total retail sales fell 0.3% in April from a year ago, after rising 51.1% a year earlier. They were also ahead by 3.9% on April 2019. Sales also fell by 1.7% on a like-for-like basis, which excludes the effect of store openings and closings – and activities.

“The rising cost of living has shaken consumer confidence and dampened consumer spending,” says Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium. “Sales growth has slowed since January, although the true extent of this decline has been masked by rising inflation. Larger items were the hardest hit as consumers limited their spending on furniture, electrical appliances and other household items; compounded by delays on goods from China. Meanwhile, thanks to the April sunshine, gardening and fashion items saw stronger sales, especially formal wear as consumers geared up for summer and this year’s wedding season.

“Clients face a difficult year; the Bank of England expects inflation to reach double digits. Retailers face higher costs due to rising commodity prices, transportation costs, labor shortages, port delays and the war in Ukraine. Other headwinds are coming, such as rising global food prices, which rose 13% between March and April. Retailers will continue to do all they can to mitigate the effects of these cost increases, but unfortunately they cannot absorb them all.

In-store sales of non-food items were up 59.3% from a year ago in the three months to April – and 48.2% from March 2019.

Paul Martin, head of UK retail at KPMG, said sales growth fell for the first time in 15 months in April. “Clothing and footwear sales continued to grow in stores and online, but conscientious consumers curbed unnecessary spending, with technology and homewares hit the hardest by spending cuts. Food and beverages rebounded with 3% growth in April, mainly due to the fall of Easter later this year.

“With interest rates and inflation rising and the Bank of England warning of a possible recession, the squeeze on household disposable income is starting to impact high street. Amid declining consumer confidence, the retail sector faces challenges ahead as it faces mounting cost pressures from all sides. Many retailers will have no choice but to raise prices to protect their margins, but the longer we see high inflation and falling real household incomes, the more likely consumers are to change their consumption behavior. , which will lead to a deterioration in the health of the retail sector. and maybe more victims on the main street.

Barclaycard: growth rate of essential goods slows in three-year comparison

Spending on cards rose 18.1% in April compared to the same period in 2019, while the growth rate of spending on essential items slowed on petroleum products (+ 23% – against + 26.1% in March 2022) and saved money on groceries, says Barclaycard. Supermarket spending was up 15.9% from three years earlier, while spending at specialty food and beverage stores was up 76% over the same period, from +16.9% and +76.9% in March).

Barclaycard monitors credit and debit card spending that is processed through its systems. The April figures are compared to the same period three years ago, in 2019, removing the effect of Covid-19 lockdowns and trade restrictions from the long-term pattern.

Barclaycard found that spending on utilities rose 28.8% year-on-year, and in a parallel survey of xx consumers, one in 10 were concerned about the impact of rising household bills on their finances.

José Carvalho, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, said: “The impact of the rising cost of living on consumer spending is starting to be felt, with a number of categories – including subscriptions, meals takeaways and bars, pubs and clubs – which are seeing less growth than in March as Britons start to feel the pinch.However, the improvements seen by airlines and travel agents are particularly positive and hopefully the, point to a recovery in international travel spending later this year.


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David A. Albanese