‘E-commerce is propping up crumbling retail sales’

Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail sales figures for September saw the record broken for the longest period of decline since records began, 25 years ago. September’s -0.2% decline in the volume of sales was the fifth straight fall in a row, says the home delivery expert ParcelHero.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., says: “September’s figures were a record breaker, but not in a way that would have impressed Roy Castle (I may be showing my age). Since shops reopened fully in April, retail sales have been steadily falling month-on-month, rather than climbing as expected.

“High Street retailers are feeling the crunch. Household goods stores sales fell -9.3% as DIY fever – which had us all redecorating after staring at the same walls for months during lockdown – subsided.

“Once again, online was one of the few growth areas, up 0.5% in value compared to August. Department store’s websites led the charge with sales up 3.8%. This shows people are still not confident about entering crowded shopping streets and malls.

“Even online retailers shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to pop the champagne cork, however. Online sales were actually down -2.3% compared to September 2020, and department store’s online sales tanked by -15.8% compared to last September.

“Retailers will be praying that the increasing supply chain problems don’t make the situation even worse as we approach Christmas. October’s ONS retail sales figures will be scrutinised closely to see how significantly embattled stores are being impacted.”

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