UK retail sales rise for 6th straight month in October

LONDON (XINHUA) – Britain’s retail sales recorded the sixth consecutive month of growth in October as consumers stocked up ahead of national lockdowns, the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday.

In October, retail sales volumes increased by 1.2 per cent compared with September, up by 6.7 per cent from the pre-pandemic level in February, said the ONS, adding that the volume of retail sales saw a surge of 5.8 per cent year-on-year.

Capital Economics Economist Thomas Pugh said despite the further rise in October, “the current lockdown means that retail sales, and total consumer spending, will probably fall outright in November”.

In addition, online shopping in October saw a strong jump, with sales value growing across all sectors year-on-year.

In October, online food sales value, department stores and other non-food stores increased by 99.2 per cent, 87.2 per cent and 89.7 per cent on a yearly basis, said the ONS.

Britain’s online shipping also saw a strong jump in October, with sales value growing across all sectors

“While 2020 has seen significant behavioural change among consumers, some lockdown habits look set to stay,” said London-based auditing and consulting firm Deloitte Head of Retail Ian Geddes.

The shift of consumers purchasing pattern toward online shopping would affect the performance of the upcoming holiday, said Geddes, adding that “retailers are already applying creativity to deliver what is certain to be the most digital holiday ever”.

England is currently under a month-long national lockdown, the second of its kind since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the country, amid uncertainties on whether the store would reopen during the holiday.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.