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Retail sales increased by more than 13 per cent in June.
Chloe Shakesby

June statistics show retail sales bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels

New figures released today show that retail sales have nearly bounced back to pre-pandemic levels.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported today that the volume of retail sales increased by 13.9 per cent in June compared to May, continuing its recovery from the impact of coronavirus.

The two monthly increases in the volume of retail sales in May and June 2020 have brought total sales to a similar level as before the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite continuing record spending on food sales, total retail sales in the quarter to June 2020 showed an overall decrease when compared to the comparative quarter from a year earlier of 12.7 per cent.

Record spending continued online at 31.8 per cent despite much of the UK high street reopening in June.

Jacqui Baker, director of retail at RSM, an audit, tax and consulting firm, said: “Ultimately, online spending is here to stay, and these statistics lay bare the fact that traditional UK bricks and mortar stores continue to bear the brunt of Covid-19.

“Sales are heading in the right direction, but these increases are a fraction of where they need to be.

“30 September is a critical date for retailers as it sees the end of the rent moratorium, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the last embers of the furlough scheme.

“But it is the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act that will determine the fate of these retailers. Extending it would give them much needed breathing space and prevent a swathe of CVAs from 1 October.

“The all-important Christmas quarter will be crucial for these businesses and the government will need to get behind them or risk the prospect of ghost-town highstreets in 2021.”

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