Retail improving but High Streets still struggling

Shoppers are coming back to the high street but the retail sector is still struggling to return to normal

Retail sales rose by 3.4 per cent in June.

Sales grew for the first time since the lockdown was imposed and at their fastest rate since May 2018.

Online sales of non-food items increased by 48.2 per cent in June, up from 3.3 per cent in June 2019 and above the 12-month average growth rate of 17.1 per cent.

In-store sales of non-food items declined by 46.8 per cent. This was worse than the 12-month average of -16.5 per cent.

Over the three months to June, non-food retail sales fell by 15 per cent.

Food retailers performed strongly, with sales rising by 3.8 per cent on an overall basis. This was higher than the 12-month average growth rate of 2.7 per cent.

Shopping trips still only half last year’s level

UK shopping visits are still only at half the level of last year and the reopening of pubs and cafes failed to deliver a hoped-for boost, according to industry figures

Footfall was down 49.6% for the week ending 4 July compared to the same week a year ago

An improvement on the previous week – up by 15.3%

Hospitality, leisure and entertainment over the weekend of the 4-5 July grow by 19% compared to the previous weekend


Employment Down

Labour market overview, UK: June 2020


Early indicators for May 2020 suggest that the number of employees in the UK on payrolls is down over 600,000 compared with March 2020. The Claimant Count has continued to rise, enhancements to Universal Credit as part of the UK government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) mean an increase in the number of people eligible.

Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, covering the period up to end of April 2020, show weakening employment rates, with the self-employed and men seeing some reduction in employment. The largest changes are seen in the number of people temporarily away from work, including furloughed workers, which rose by 6 million at the end of March into April, leading to a large fall in hours worked.

  • The UK employment rate in the three months to April 2020 was estimated at 76.4%, 0.3 percentage points higher than a year earlier but 0.1 percentage points down on the previous quarter.
  • The UK unemployment rate for the three months to April 2020 was estimated at 3.9%, 0.1 percentage points higher than a year earlier but largely unchanged on the previous quarter.

No growth in Q4 but better in 2019 as a whole

GDP monthly estimate, UK: December 2019 – ONS

  • UK gross domestic product (GDP) was flat in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2019
  • Growth in both services and construction was offset by a fall in production, which resulted in 0.0% GDP growth in the three months to December 2019
  • Rolling three-month growth weakened for the third month in a row in December 2019
  • Headline GDP grew by 1.4% in 2019


Unemployment shows slight fall