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Despair engulfs High Street: Lockdown drives record sales

Hundreds of High Street stores are expected to close after the lockout ends, as retailers have been through the worst month ever

Hundreds of High Street stores are expected to close after the lockout ends, as retailers have had the worst month ever.

The Office for National Statistics revealed that sales in the UK were down nearly a fifth last month, wiping out 15 years of revenue growth.

Online sales reached record levels under a lockdown, reaching nearly £ 1 out of every £ 3 spent on retailers, including supermarkets.

Walk on: Online sales hit record levels under lockdown, reaching nearly £ 1 out of every £ 3 spent on retailers

Walk on: Online sales hit record levels under lockdown, reaching nearly £ 1 out of every £ 3 spent on retailers

But this was not enough to offset a dramatic drop in retail sales, which fell 18.1 percent last month.

The slowdown was by far the worst retailers have experienced since the record began nearly 25 years ago, with the 5.2 percent drop in March, the second-largest recorded.

And experts have warned that the death of the high street has been brought forward by five years as customers get used to online shopping.

Hundreds of stores owned by the household names are aware, and many are unlikely to reopen when the closure closes next month.

Social distance keeps shoppers away, just as the recession and widespread job losses affect the amount of disposable money they have to spend.

Theo Paphitis, former BBC ‘Dragon’ and the owner of stationer Ryman, said yesterday: ‘Retail will never be the same again. We get out of here with fewer stores. ‘

With just nine days before the stores reopen, the British Retail Consortium called for clearer guidance on leaving the lockdown.

Ministers gave the homeware stores everything, allowing DFS to open showrooms in Bolton, Leicester and Milton Keynes yesterday.

Kyle Monk, of the British Retail Consortium, said, “Coronavirus continues to threaten the survival of stores across the country. Retailers urgently need clarity about the reopening of stores in June. ‘

Clothing sales were worse than expected, falling by more than 50 percent on a monthly basis in April, representing a decline of 34.9 percent in March.

While cars were stationary, gasoline sales fell by 52 percent in April, after dropping 18.7 percent in March. Even supermarkets saw a 2.8 percent drop in sales last month, as many families held out before closing in March.

But online retail is booming. As a percentage of total sales, it rose from nearly £ 1 to £ 5 spent before the crisis to nearly £ 1 to £ 3 now.

Retailers believe that the boom will continue after the closure, forcing major brands to close many stores.

This week, Marks & Spencer announced it may need to close more stores to survive after a profit collapse.

John Lewis has said that it is “highly unlikely” that all 50 stores will reopen. And Arcadia, the owner of Topshop, notified landlords last month of more than 100 stores where the lease contracts are ongoing or expiring, bringing the specter that tens might close.

A handful of Clarks shoe stores will also close. The 195-year-old family business also announced 900 job losses and is considering selling a minority stake during a cash flow crisis.

Ikea has said that the Coventry store will close, the first major closure of a UK outlet, and Debenhams has already said 12 department stores will close.

Retail expert Richard Hyman said, “The overwhelming number of retailers have too many stores, and the lockdown will accelerate the move to online.”

Fellow independent analyst Andrew Busby predicted, “The pandemic will accelerate the closure of stores.”

Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston and Brighthouse electronics store have all gone bankrupt alongside a series of casual eateries, losing hundreds of jobs and closing dozens of shops.

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