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Established 1996
Sunday 31 May 2020


Non-store retailing reaches record high: ONS

Written by Peter Walker

In the three months to April, retail sales increased by 1.8 per cent compared with the previous three months, with strong growth in non-store retailing, which reached a record high of 9.4 per cent.

Online retailers selling clothing items were the driver to this growth, with the warm weather helping to boost sales, according to the latest Office for National Statistics figures.

When compared with the previous year, the quantity bought in April increased by 5.2 per cent, with growth across all sectors except household goods, which fell by 4.5 per cent.

Last month, online retailing accounted for 18.7 per cent of total retailing, compared with 17.7 per cent in the same month last year, with all sectors reporting growth.

In contrast, online sales fell by 2.6 per cent for the amount spent when compared with March. Non-store retailing was the only negative contributor to this fall, following strong sales in the previous month.

Non-store retailing continued to show strong growth in April, with the highest three-month-on-three-month growth rate since records began, at 9.4 per cent for the quantity bought.

Online only retailers make up the majority of sales within non-store.

In April, clothing was the only positive contributor to the growth in non-store retailing, with a growth rate of 5.8 per cent when compared with the previous three months. The ONS stated that anecdotal evidence from retailers suggested warm weather experienced last month boosted clothing sales.

Naji El-Arifi, head of innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, commented that whilst the number of purchases made in-store over the year has fluctuated, online shopping has continued to thrive, with internet sales seeing steady growth over the past 10 years.

“The importance of an omnichannel approach is evident with many real-world examples – for instance, Next has recently seen its online sales figures surpass spending in-store, whilst Amazon has done the reverse, with the creation of physical shops with its Amazon Go stores,” he added.


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