• Paul Kelson

Clothing Stores Slowest to Recover

Updated: Jan 24

DTC - October Statistics Summary

The volume of sales for each retail sector from February 2020’s pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown level.

Clothing stores and fuel remained below their pre-lockdown level in October 2020, while non-store retailing showed a further uptake in sales

Non-store retailing has showed strength over the course of the pandemic and remained at high levels. In October 2020, volume sales within non-store retailing were 44.9% higher than February.

Most sectors recovered to a higher level than February and feedback from various retailers informed us that consumers appeared to be shopping earlier for Christmas this year, which has helped boost sales.

Clothing stores and fuel were the only sectors still below their pre-lockdown sales.


Clothing stores were largely effected by the restrictions in place for non-essential stores during lockdown measures and was adversely effected as a result.

For businesses as a whole, how has customer footfall changed over the last two weeks?

Chart above shows no increased footfall for fuel, clothing or department store businesses. Clothing stores and department store businesses reported the highest percentages of decreased footfall at 78.9% and 66.7% respectively.

A reduction in footfall across stores may have resulted in a shift from store spending to shopping online

In October, all sectors saw strong growth for online value sales when compared with February’s pre-pandemic level, in contrast to the little or negative growth seen within stores

Value sales, seasonally adjusted, Great Britain, October 2020 compared with February 2020

Above we look at value store sales alongside online value sales. We have excluded fuel and non-store retailing since retail fuel sales are not included online and non-store retailing will not include store sales.

In October 2020, total retail sales values (excluding fuel) increased by 7.9% when compared with February 2020, driven by a strong increase for sales online at 52.8% in comparison with a decline in store sales at negative 3.3%.

In October, we can see that online sales for all sectors increased when compared with February. Online food sales nearly doubled, with an increase of 99.2% in comparison with food store sales, which saw a fall of 2.1%. Overall, total food sales increased by 3.4% when compared with February.

Clothing stores, with an overall decline of 14.0% in value sales, increased their online sales by 17.1% but saw the biggest fall in store sales at negative 22.1%.

Source ONS

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