There is no doubt that 2020 was a turbulent year in which much of retail bounced between being open and closed, significantly impacting sales and the ability to make meaningful comparisons.
In this context, new figures from the British Retail Consortium, which cover the four weeks from April 4 to May 1, 2021, are compared with 2019 (pre-pandemic).
Helen Dickinson OBE, the BRC’s chief executive, said that on a total sales basis, sales increased considerably over in the period following reopening and by 7.3% across the month of April compared to April 2019.
“This is above the three-month average growth of 6%,” she said.
“Following the reopening of so-called non-essential stores on April 12 in England and Wales and continued online growth, retail sales enjoyed a welcome boost last month.
“With the short-term pent-up demand for the shopping experience drawing consumers back to stores, non-food sales across stores and online increased by a quarter between March and April. It is great to see customers feeling confident visiting shops, a testament to the ongoing investment by retailers in making their stores, warehouses, and deliveries COVID-secure.”
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “Retailers will be delighted with the way the re-opening of the high street was greeted by shoppers eager to get into stores and engage once more with physical shopping.
“Remembering that this time last year we were in lockdown, there are some outstanding growth figures in April especially in non-food.”