Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed an 5.8% increase in overall sales (retail sales excluding fuel: J3L2), Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

“The retail recovery remains fragile as the industry enters the all-important Christmas period, with November and December typically accounting for over a fifth of annual sales. While food and online retail continued to show strong growth, high street shopping has struggled in recent months, with footfall still down by over a third.  Tighter Government restrictions have taken their toll on fashion and beauty sales, while home office and computing equipment has benefitted.

“Retailers have spent hundreds of millions to make stores Covid-secure and keep staff and customers safe. Furthermore, they are encouraging the public to shop early for Christmas and prevent the last minute rush, so that everyone – from shoppers to warehouse workers – have the space they need to stay safe and well. Retail has proven itself to be a responsible industry during this pandemic, and Government should not risk the retail recovery by closing stores during the all-important run up to Christmas.”