Online drives retail sales for second month

online grocery shopping

UK retail sales last month increased 7.9% on a like-for-like basis from May 2019, when they had decreased 2.2% from the year before, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for May 2020.

May’s like-for-like has been measured excluding temporarily closed stores but including Online sales. The figure is primarily driven by a lockdown-induced surge in online shopping.

Sales decreased by 5.9% in May on a Total basis, against a decrease of 1.9% in May 2019. This is the second-worst decline recorded since the monitor began in January 1995. It is, however, an improvement over April, which holds the dubious distinction of recording the worst-ever decline. The figure is also above the three-month average decline of 9.4% and below the 12-month average decline of 2.6%.

Over the three-months to May, Food sales increased 8.7% on a like-for-like basis and 5.6% on a Total basis. This is higher than the 12-month Total average growth of 2.1%. For the month of May, Food was in growth year-on-year.

British Retail Consortium boss Helen Dickinson said: “Sales in May demonstrated yet another month of struggle for retailers across the country, despite an improvement on the previous month. Nonetheless, as the sun came out and restaurants lay dormant, food sales rose with consumers taking to their local parks for beers, BBQs and picnics.

“For those shops whose doors remain shuttered it was once again a tough month and even those who stayed open suffered reduced footfall and huge costs implementing social distancing measures.”