Retail sales increase in June with massive contribution from online

Retail sales increased in June versus the same month in 2019 with a major contribution from online that helped drive the industry to its first month of growth since lockdown, but challenges remain ahead.

According to BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor for June, total sales increased 3.4% compared with a decrease of 1.6% in June 2019. Like-for-like sales during the month moved up 10.9% when excluding temporarily closed stores during lockdown, which highlights the massive contribution of online during the period.

The figures reveal online non-food sales increased by 48.2% in June compared with 3.3% last year that helped push the non-food online penetration rate up from 33.1% in June 2019 to 50.7% this June.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium, said: “June finally saw a return to growth in total sales, primarily driven by online as a result of lockdown measures being eased and pent up demand being released. Though a month of growth is welcome news, retail is not out of the woods yet. The pandemic continues to pose huge challenges to the industry, with ongoing stores closures and job losses across the UK.”

David Lloyd, UK, Nordics & Netherlands general manager at Alibaba, agreed there are challenges ahead and pointed to the continued role of digital in the sector: “It's clear that 'normal' will look quite different for the foreseeable future. The pandemic has quickly and drastically reshaped consumer behaviour, accelerating and embedding a reliance on e-commerce. As footfall slowly starts to return, it would be a mistake for retailers to ditch the digital advances and creative operating models they trialled during lockdown.”