The start of Christmas helped bring British retail sales to just below their pre-pandemic levels, official data shows, despite widespread supply disruptions.
Overall retail sales rose 0.8 percent between September and October, with fashion retailers getting a particularly big jump.
Clothing store sales grew 6.2 per cent in October and were down just 0.5 per cent at their peak before the first covid lockdown.
Toy stores also saw increased sales, indicating that shoppers are buying Christmas gifts early to avoid disappointment as suppliers warned of gaps in stocks and delays in shipping goods from Asia.
Retail owners welcomed the latest signs of improvement, but said backlogs and labor shortages in supply chains would continue to cause problems.
While the high street got a boost, online shopping returned to a level not seen since the early days of the pandemic.
Web sales accounted for 27.3 per cent of total retail transactions – the lowest since March 2020 but still significantly higher than the 19.7 per cent recorded in February 2020. Online sellers will expect a boost from Black Friday sales, which hit their peak next. Week.
Fuel sales fell 6.4 per cent in the month as panic in fuel supply eased and drivers relied on petrol and diesel they stocked in September.
Groceries sales were down 0.3 per cent, but 3.4 per cent higher than pre-Covid levels.
Grant Fitzner, chief economist at ONS, said: “After five months of no growth, retail sales picked up in October. Although overall sales are above pre-pandemic levels, it remains a mixed picture.
“Clothing, department store and toy store sales posted growth this month, with clothing stores hitting their highest level since the start of the pandemic, with some retailers suggesting that early Christmas shopping has boosted business.” helped increase.
“Fuel sales fell sharply in the month, as they returned to more typical levels following September’s growth. Food and online sales also fell, although they are above pre-pandemic levels.”
But Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, warned: “While retailers are making a huge effort to ensure that essential food and gifts are ready for Christmas, they are troubled by ongoing challenges and supply chain problems.” Huh.
“Throughout the supply chain – from farms to distribution – labor shortages are driving up costs and creating some gaps on the shelves.
Still, retailers are prioritizing Christmas essentials, and many people put their festive offerings a little earlier to ensure everyone has time to buy treats and decorations before the big day. “
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /