UK retail sales hit pre-pandemic levels

Westgate, Oxford
The government’s Office for National Statistics has revealed that sales are three per cent above pre-pandemic levels in February 2020, with retail sales volumes in July increasing by 3.6 per cent.In July, the volume of food store sales and non-store retailing remained at high sales levels, despite monthly contractions in these sectors at negative 3.1 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively.

Fuel sales in July continued to recover from low sales levels but were still 11.7 per cent lower than February; recent analysis shows that car road traffic in July was around 17 percentage points lower compared with the first week in February, according to data from the Department for Transport.

Clothing store sales were the worst hit during the pandemic and volume sales in July remained 25.7 per cent lower than February, even with a July 2020 monthly increase of 11.9 per cent in this sector.

Online retail sales fell by 7 per cent in July when compared with June, but the strong growth experienced over the pandemic has meant that sales are still 50.4 per cent higher than February’s pre-pandemic levels.