Recent research by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reveals that retail spending by consumers in the country experienced a lesser contraction during May than the record high drop seen during the previous month. Total retail spending, particularly in large retail chains, was down by 5.9% YoY during May, far better than the 19.1% decline seen in April.
However, May’s figures still remained the second highest drop seen in retail sales since at least 1995. However, the reduction in the decline point to signs of business recovery as the lockdown begins to ease, which is encouraging.
With consumers forced to remain indoors and shops ordered shut, online sales of non-essential goods registered a 60% increase YoY in May. The BRC expects consumers to remain cautious about stepping into retail outlets, espcially high street stores, even after the lockdown eases in a few days, amid worries of a possible second wave of coronavirus cases.
A survey by Barclaycard also revealed a slight improvement in consumer spending from April to May, with credit and debit card spending falling by 27.7% YoY in May, slightly better than the 36.5% decline seen in April. Supermarkets continued to register strong sales, while sales at home improvement and gardening stores also saw higher sales on reopening last month.