We are sure for most, shops and business being allowed to reopen as the rules on lockdown continue to ease in the UK came as welcome news. The pressure on retailers has been extremely high as many closed their doors for months due to Covid-19 lockdown. It is therefore great to see that the Guardian has today reported that the total sales increased 3.4% on the same month last year as non-essential high street shops started to open their doors once more.
Figures from Barclaycard who are the UK’s largest credit provider, processing over half of the credit and debit card transactions in the country, have shown that retailers do still have a long way to go but do show a steady increase in High Street spending since shops shut their doors in March. Figures from Barclaycard also show that online spending has been at an all time high with online grocery shopping surging 105.9% on June last year. Online sales of non-food items also rose 48.2% in June.
People may not exactly be picking up where they left off in regards to shopping and with the new Government announcement of face coverings now becoming mandatory when shopping from the 24th July, time will certainly have to tell. This new measure may of course encourage more to visit High Street stores with more safety implications for shoppers as well as staff, making shoppers feel safer and more at ease.
Other Government announcements certainly bring good news to the economy with tax and vat cuts put forward in the Summer economic update last week and the Government are certainly urging people to spend money and boost the economy where they can. Last month the economy as a whole grew 1.8% rather than the 5% as predicted yet as the lockdown continues to be relaxed, the next few months will give us a clearer picture.
With the ongoing pandemic, retail is not out of the woods just yet however, a month of growth is certainly welcome news and lets hope that further Government announcements will continue to support the sector and encourage people to feel safe whilst spending in High Street stores once again.