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

 

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

 

Community ownership of vacant shops: can this save the High Street?

Take Back the High Street: Putting communities in charge of their own town centres – Power to Change Report 

Greater community ownership of high street properties could lead to many fewer empty shops, compared to ownership by private-sector interests such as real estate companies and overseas investors.

  • Shops owned by overseas investors are more than twice as likely to be vacant as shops owned by the public sector
  • Real estate companies own one in four of all empty shops, and overseas investors own one in five; whereas the public sector and social sector [2] own around one in ten each
  • Just 8% of units owned by the social sector are vacant, and 4.5% of those owned by the public sector – compared to 9.2% for real estate companies, 9.6% for overseas investors, 11.9% for institutions like pension funds, and 13% for investment management schemes