Retail transactions up 60% as lockdown restrictions ease

UK retailers saw a 60 per cent surge in transactions last week as shops began to re-open after lockdown, according to new data from Barclaycard.

The bank's payment arm, which processes nearly 40 per cent of all UK transactions, analysed data on activity in the last week (beginning 7 June) as lockdown restrictions began to ease, finding eight per cent growth in the total volume of transactions and six per cent growth in the total value of transactions.

In addition, last week saw a 12 per cent increase in shops returning to trading, compared to the week before, hinting at a strong rebound for retailers as lockdown restrictions are lifted further from 4 July.

Last week also saw an increase in contactless transactions, with Barclaycard Payments processing ten per cent more contactless transactions than the week before.

Since the introduction of the new £45 contactless limit in the UK, Barclaycard Payments has processed almost 40,700,000 contactless transactions above the previous limit of £30 – helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus by allowing more people to pay without using cash or handling a card machine.

The total value of these new contactless transactions above £30 is over £1.4 billion.

Small and medium businesses in particular benefitted from being able to open back up, experiencing a twelve per cent increase in the total volume of transactions, and a nine per cent increase in the total value processed.

Rob Cameron, chief executive of Barclaycard Payments, said: “It’s extremely heartening to witness the spike in activity that took place last week, and with some retailers still to open some or all of their stores, we expect sales volumes to continue to rise over the coming weeks.

“The ability of UK businesses to adapt and grow as they emerge from lockdown is a testament to how dedicated and resilient they are - it will be interesting to watch whether the measures they took to boost income during lockdown, such as turning to social media to increase sales, will become a permanent part of their business models from now on.”

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