Record food sales growth fails to prevent worst month ever for British retailers

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Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed a record sharp rise in food sales growth across the retail sector – however – the industry has also endured its worst month on record in March.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc within most areas of the retail sector – with many falling into administration.

Today’s data from ONS showed that British supermarkets were also recording record months as shoppers are looked to stock cupboards with everyday items due to the lockdown. Sales volumes were 10.4% up on February – a record growth figure.

While the high demand for groceries helped prop up the wider retail sales figures, widespread shop closures across the economy meant volumes were 5.1% down as a whole. For example, clothing store sales saw a 34% slump.

Head of Retail Sales at ONS, Rhian Murphy, said: “Retail sales saw their biggest monthly fall since records began over 30 years ago with large declines in clothing and fuel, only partially offset by strong food sales. Online-only retailers saw strong growth though, with many high street stores also unsurprisingly seeing a boost to web sales.”

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