22 Jan 2021

Largest annual fall in retail sales, says ONS report

UK retail sales suffered the largest annual fall on record, it was announced this morning (Friday, January 22, 2021).

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its retail sales figures for December and for 2020. It reveals that Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the high street, with much trade being done online.

Clothing stores, fuel stores and department stores all reported record annual declines in sales volumes in 2020, from a year earlier.

The figures come as no surprise to Bira, which has been campaigning for more Government support to help the independent retail sector recover from the pandemic. Measures Bira would like to see include the extension of the business rates holiday passed April 2021.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira CEO, said: "The figures will not surprise anyone running a retail business. Retail has been one of the sectors most affected by Covid-19 and as well as losing sales, we have lost 180,000 jobs and 20% of independent retailers in the past 10 months.

"These sales figures are further evidence to support our call for an extension of the rates holiday to non-essential retailers, extending the rent moratorium and extending the interest free period for the various loans that were made available. Independent retailers can bounce back but they need ongoing support to do so."

Read the full report here



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