Online retail sales hit new records once again in February, growing 167.3 per cent as “positive signs” emerge for the sector.
The online sales surge was driven by growing demand for fashion and homeware products as rapid vaccine rollout began to encourage consumer confidence, according to the latest BDO high street sales tracker.
Despite yet another significant boost for online sales, it was not enough to offset losses made on the high street where non-essential retailer will remain shut for a number of weeks.
Combined in-store and online sales fell 3.1 per cent in February compared to a month earlier, marking the worst month since last August.
However, according to BDO’s head of retail and wholesale Sophie Michael, this was less than the average eight per cent decline seen since the start of the first lockdown last March.
“Obviously, there is still a long road ahead but with shops looking at reopening there were a few positive signs this month,” Michael said, adding that she welcomed the measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week to help restart retail.
“A key part of driving forward the UK’s economic recovery is likely to come from unlocking consumer spending.
“To enable this, the retail sector needs to reopen successfully and quickly and the Government’s continued support will be vital to making this happen.”
Fashion, while still in negative territory, saw the smallest declines of the year in February dropping just 3.6 per cent.
Meanwhile homeware sales soared 32.3 per cent as shoppers continued to turn to home improvement during lockdown.