Retailers suffered their worst annual sales performance on record in 2020, driven by slump in demand for fashion and homeware products, figures show.
In December, total retail sales increased by 1.8% as shoppers spent more in the run-up to Christmas. Like-for-like sales for the month were up 4.8% as overall shop takings were still affected by restrictions and temporary closures.
Worse to come?
The BRC’s sales monitor is collated with the consultancy KPMG, whose UK head of retail, Paul Martin, said: “In the most important month for the retail industry, there was some positive growth due to the ongoing shift of expenditure from other categories such as travel and leisure.
“Once again we saw big swings in the types of products being purchased and the channels used for shopping, with much of the growth taking place online, where nearly half of all non-food purchases were made.”
Last week, a report from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) said that 2020 was the worst for High Street job losses in more than 25 years, as the coronavirus accelerated the move towards online shopping.
Nearly 180,000 retail jobs were lost last year, up by almost a quarter from 2019, the CRR said.