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E-Commerce Is Saving Grace for UK Retail Industry

10 June 2020 - 09:42 by Mike Price

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The most recent report from the British Retail Consortium shows that safe shopping online is continuing to help retailers to sell products and stay afloat at a time when the coronavirus crisis is still causing seriously subdued sales on the high street.

Over the course of May, retail sales actually increased by almost eight per cent like-for-like, so long as the closed stores are excluded from calculations.

An impressive 61.9 per cent of all sales across the retail industry were carried out via e-commerce sites during this period, which is all the more significant when you consider that in May of 2019 that proportion sat at just 31.4 per cent, Internet Retailing reports.

This represents monthly online sales growth of 60.2 per cent, showing that the coronavirus has indeed helped to give the e-commerce sector a shot in the arm after sales growth had been slowing significantly in the months leading up to the pandemic.

Report spokesperson Paul Martin admitted that the UK’s retail industry was still in dire straits, with May managing to be a slightly better month than April, which in itself had been the worst month on record in terms of sales.

He also said that it was important to remember that while online sales were rising, there was still a disparity between the types of products and categories that were gaining traction and those which were actually falling out of favour.

Once again, items considered to be non-essential were feeling the pinch, with fashion being singled out as suffering the most significant downturn in consumer interest. This is likely to lead to yet more problems over the second half of the year, with major brands and retailers alike having to slash prices in order to convince consumers to part with their cash for clothing.