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MNI BRIEF: UK Retail Sales Bounceback Picks Up Speed: BRC

MNI (London)

Total UK sales rose to 8.3% in March 2021 compared to March 2019, while Like-for-like sales rose 8.4%, data published Tuesday by the BRC and KPMG showed.

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UK retail sales recovered further in March, largely driven by spending on groceries as lockdowns continued, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive at the BRC said Tuesday. While 5 out of 13 categories posted sales increases in March, "the majority of categories remain in decline, with fashion and footwear remain the hardest hit," Dickinson added.

The BRC changed their Y/Y comparison for a two-year pre-pandemic comparison to provide a better indication of where the industry stands. Total sales rose by 8.3% in March, compared to March 2019, while Like-for-like sales were up 8.4% Y/2Y. Online non-food sales surged to a record high of 94.0% in March 2021, compared to the same period in 2019 as the pandemic shifted spending to digital platforms.

"One year on from our first national lockdown the retail sector has changed dramatically, but remains remarkably resilient." said Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, the BRC's survey partners. "Government support packages will provide some relief to struggling retailers until after the summer, but conditions will continue to be incredibly challenging as they face thinner margins and rising costs." Martin added.

Source: BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor