Britain’s high streets had some good news in the July Office for National Statistics retail figures, says the e-commerce delivery expert ParcelHero.
The data reveals that high street sales values rose 4.4% over June, with the amount of sales actually 3% up on February’s pre-pandemic levels. In contrast to clothing stores’ 11.9% growth, online sales fell back by 7%, compared to the previous month.
ParcelHero says these figures show that it is physical store sales that are now leading retail’s recovery. However, even though the online sales juggernaut has slowed, that doesn’t mean the future of town centre stores is secure.
Head of consumer research at Parcelhero, David Jinks, said: “At last, high street retailers have some news to celebrate. Non-food store sales grew 10% in July, with fashion stores leading the charge with an 11.9% growth. Household goods stores actually rose an impressive 6% against pre-pandemic levels in February. All this is hugely encouraging and shows consumers still want to visit physical stores if they can feel safe.
“However, any retailer who still thinks online sales are an extra – not a key part – of their overall sales strategy shouldn’t get too smug. Online sales are still an enormous 50.4% higher than they were in February before the pandemic hit the UK.
“These latest figures show that e-commerce gobbled 28.9% of all retail sales in the UK. That’s a drop from a peak of 31.9% at the height of lockdown, but still significantly more than the 20% of all sales achieved in February before coronavirus hit. This recovery remains fragile, and fears of a second-wave of the covid-19 virus, once children return to school, could quickly halt the progress seen in July.
“To repeat our mantra, an omni-channel sales strategy, embracing both shop and online sales, with both services complementing the other, is the only way forward for stores as retail claws its way back from the clutches of the coronavirus.”