Online sales plummet as shoppers return to Main Street

Now that the lockdown restrictions have been fully lifted, there has been a significant shift from online shopping to Main Street, new data shows.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s Monthly Sales Monitor found that non-food online sales fell 4.6% in August, with 38.3% of sales now online, compared to 42% during of the same month of the previous year.

Total retail sales managed to continue to rise in August and were up 3% from the previous month, but the speed of growth slowed significantly, with experts suggesting that demand for products online during the various bottlenecks and Covid-19 restrictions are coming to an end. .

The 3% increase in sales last month was driven by formal wear, the BRC said, with workers returning to the office and wedding season in full swing.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Helen Dickinson, Managing Director of BRC, said: “As pent-up demand after the lockdown eased, the retail sales growth we have seen in recent months slowed in August. .

“Nonetheless, we have always seen growth above pre-pandemic levels as people have returned to stores in greater numbers.

“With the wedding season in full swing and the gradual return of employees to the office, evening wear performed very well.

“In addition, the bank holiday weekend and the back-to-school buzz contributed to an increase in non-food sales.

“Although the growth in online sales has started to slow, it remains high compared to pre-pandemic growth rates.”

Don Williams, Business Partner at KPMG, said: “With the retail recovery showing signs of slowing, the industry is expected to grow at a more moderate pace as retailers face growing challenges on several fronts.

“Inflation is expected to accelerate, putting pressure on household spending as retailers fight for a share of the wallet as consumers spend money on leisure, entertainment and travel.”

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Signs that consumers are spending more on other activities were highlighted in the latest data from Barclaycard.

The card company said spending rose 15.4% in August compared to the same period in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

All leisure sectors, with the exception of international travel, are growing, including catering, which is growing for the first time in more than 17 months.

The BRC added that food sales continue to rise, up 2.9% in August from a year ago.

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David A. Albanese