Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown that the retail sector has missed out on around £27 billion due to the UK’s lockdowns, beginning 23 March last year.
This number was added to by another 1.3% year-on-year February decline in lost revenue across all retail businesses, or 24.2% across ‘predominantly non-food stores’.
Discussing the losses, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retail sales fell for the second consecutive month in February, and non-food stores saw their fourteenth month of decline with a massive 25% drop.
“UK stores have now lost a whopping £27 billion from lost sales during the three lockdowns. This is already impacting retail employment, with 67,000 retail jobs lost between December 2019 and 2020.
“While the Prime Minister’s roadmap helped boost spending on back-to-school items, consumer demand remained weak overall.
“Meanwhile, online sales remained strong, providing a lifeline for customers, and rewarding those retailers who have adapted and grown their digital offering over the last 12 months.”
To this point, online retail sales grew year-on-year by 78.6% for the month of February 2021.
Dickinson continued: “Retail remains an essential part in unlocking consumer demand and driving forward the country’s economic recovery.
“It is essential that all retailers are able to open – and stay open – from 12 April, and that Government continues to offer necessary support to businesses as many begin the process of trading their way back to growth.
“The ongoing business rates consultation offers a pathway to supporting investment in retail stores and warehouses, but only if Government acts quickly to fix this broken tax system and its damaging effects on the industry.”