LONDON (July 13): British retailers have reported a record annual increase in sales in the three months to the end of June, reported Reuters.

This comes widespread store closures a year earlier due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) which comprises large high-street chains and supermarkets said on Tuesday that sales in the 2Q2021 were 28.4% higher than a year earlier and 10.4% higher than two years before, the report said. It was also the largest y-o-y increase since 1995. 

This was also evident as total sales in June alone were up 13.1% on two years earlier, compared with a growth of 10% in May.

Compared to last year, sales were 10.4% higher on a total basis and 6.7% higher on a like-for-like basis which adjusts for changes in floor space, the report highlighted.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said that the gradual unlocking of the UK economy encouraged a release of pent-up demand.

“Fashion and footwear did well while the sun was out in the first half of June, while the start of Euro 2020 provided a boost for TVs, snack food and beer,” Dickinson said in the report. 

Most ‘non-essential’ retailers such as clothing stores were closed for most of this year, before reopening in England on April 12, although supermarkets remained open during the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, payments processor Barclaycard said its measure of consumer spending was also up strongly in June and stood 11.1% higher than in June 2019.

In May, almost half of British credit and debit card payments showed spending was up 7.6% the report said.

Meanwhile, Barclaycard head of consumer products Raheel Ahmed said that most people flock back to pubs, bars and beer gardens to watch the football and tennis on the big screens, as the heatwave early in the month encouraged many to get out in the sunshine and socialise.

With the recently concluded Euro 2020, spending at pubs and bars soared by 38% compared with two years ago, the biggest rise since September, and food and drink specialist stores such as off-licences saw sales jump by 76% the report said.

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