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Bad Weather Adds to Impact of Corona Virus on Retail Sales

11 March 2020 - 09:24 by Mike Price

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February was a tough month for retail in the UK, but it was not just the spread of the coronavirus which convinced more consumers to carry out safe shopping online rather than visiting bricks and mortar stores. The Guardian reports that there was a reduction in the sales figures for clothing and other wearable accessories as a direct result of consistently poor weather conditions over the course of the month.

Consecutive weekends during which storms ravaged the length and breadth of the country meant that people were choosing to stay cooped up indoors rather than head to the high street or participate in any other outdoor activities that require specific kit.

Meanwhile, there was an 8.7 per cent increase in the number of people ordering takeaway food for home delivery in February, which is seen as another indication that there was a reluctance to leave the house because of the various factors making this undesirable.

Another area which took a hit was travel, with a slide in airline ticket purchases seen even before the full effects of the coronavirus were being taken seriously.

Just as online shopping is becoming more popular due to the impact of this incident in combination with the inclement weather conditions, another trend which is emerging in the first few months of 2020 is the increased adoption of digital content services. There has been a 12.4 per cent uptick in the number of people subscribing to platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, cementing the idea that consumers are battening down the hatches and staying at home.

As the spread of the coronavirus is still picking up steam, it is still too early to gauge the full economic effect that it will have over the course of the year.