Britain’s high streets have suffered their worst month on record, as the coronavirus pandemic has decimated the country’s retail firms.
Figures released today for March 2020 from the BDO High Street Salestracker show that like-for-like sales fell by 17.9% for the month and instore sales fell sharply by 34.1%.
The main contributing factor to this decline is the national lockdown, that has been in place since the middle of March.
The coronavirus lockdown has included ordering people to stay home with a few exceptions, such as essential work and shopping for essential supplies. All non-essential shops have also been closed.
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “It’s no surprise that March was the worst month on record for the high street, as the COVID-19 outbreak had an immediate impact on consumer demand for discretionary items.
“Understandably, shoppers are being very cautious with their pounds, as concerns about job security grip the nation.
“For most retailers, in-store sales make up the largest portion of their revenue, so they are having to rely solely on non-store channels and adapt aggressively to survive.
“It is likely that the pandemic has only sped up the shift away from in-store shopping as consumers become even more accustomed to buying on-line.”