The outbreak of new crown pneumonia has severely hit the sales of British clothing stores
Total retail sales in the UK returned to pre pandemic levels in July 2020, but clothing sales still fell by 25.7%, despite double-digit growth in July compared with the same period in June.
Office for natio According to the latest data released by nal Statistics (ONS) on August 21, 2020, UK retail sales in July increased by 3.6% compared with June and 3.0% higher than the level before the February pandemic. The sales value segment grew 4.4% month on month (MOM) in June and July, up 1.7% from February.
However, clothing store sales were the most severely hit during the outbreak, with sales in July still 25.7% lower than in February, even though the industry grew by 11.9% in July 2020.
According to a monthly business survey conducted by the office for national statistics, 96.4% of clothing and shoe stores have reopened in the two weeks to August 9. Restrictions imposed by the British government, including most clothing and footwear stores, closed in mid March and did not reopen until June.
During the period of the blockade, there were fewer dramatic declines in department store sales, so the relative strength of recovery was smaller. During the period of the outbreak, the sales of many of its products, including those sold by department stores, were still below the level of 1.7% before the outbreak.
Overall, online retail sales in the UK fell by 7% in July compared with June, but experienced strong growth during the outbreak, which means that sales are still about 50.4% higher than before the outbreak in February. Sales in clothing stores and shoe stores rose 22.7% year-on-year in July, but fell 11.2% compared with June.
Although total retail sales fell sharply during the self lock-in period and may recover in July, the UK economy is still in a technical slump in the second quarter of 2020 (April June).
Consumer behavior has changed
Lynda petrerick, head of UK and Ireland retail at Accenture, said: "July marks further growth in the retail business as sales exceed pre epidemic levels, which will be an important and symbolic milestone. "The recent impressive performance of online sales has also begun to decline, which many retailers hope reflects a return to normal retail business. 」
"However, the threat posed by more local or national blockades is still a dark cloud over the overall sales of the retail market, which will cause serious damage to the industry's road to recovery. However, the crisis should prompt retailers to take actions to optimize the integration of online and physical channels, so that the integration of virtual and physical channels will become more flexible in the new retail environment. 」
Jacqui Baker, retail director of RSM, whose business areas include audit, tax and consulting, said the July results showed that new shopping habits were shaped and ingrained during the blockade.
"The fashion industry has always been one of the hardest hit industries in this crisis. Many choose to stay at home or spend their holidays on the British coast, based on factors such as avoiding vacations abroad and rising unemployment. There is almost no purchase of new summer products and swimsuits. 」
The continuous and active performance of online sales raises a question: has the epidemic changed shopping groups, especially those who have never shopped online before? Baby boomers like to browse online, and they prefer the personal shopping experience of traditional physical stores. During the blockade period, they have no other shopping options and have a large amount of disposable income. They are the consumers who reshape their new shopping habits and are also influencing and changing the configuration of retail sales channels. 」
Sachin jangam, retail partner at Infosys consulting, agrees: "consumer behavior has changed during the outbreak," adding that "retailers must adapt and remain relevant to survive. Not all of the success comes from the Internet. According to the continued popularity of brands such as Primark, tkmaxx and sports direct, the in store interaction with customers still has great potential as long as the shopping experience is exciting and unique enough. 」
"But these patterns are not easy to replicate. In order to remain competitive and become a stronger organizational structure, retailers can use digital technology and data science to optimize their product range to meet current consumer demand. 」
Sara korchmaros, business director of recash, a retail technology platform, said: "in the case of troubled British high street brands, no one will take the return of more normal sales figures as normal. As most retailers try to solve the problem of "come in and browse" deceleration curves and one-way system on the Internet, the appearance and feeling of physical stores are still quite different from those of online sales. 」
"In particular, clothing stores have pulled back from the edge of the dilemma, but the overall sales of clothing are still 25.7% lower than the level before the new crown pneumonia. 」
In the face of such a sharp and sustained decline in retail sales, even the leading clothing retailers in the UK are downsizing. The 7000 job losses announced by M & s in the next three months will be painful.
The most agile high street brands are now integrating their digital and physical products seamlessly, and physical stores often play a supporting role in their online counterparts.
"Despite the tremendous progress, no one expects consumers to live through the economic downturn. All retailers are struggling with fragile consumer confidence, and technology will help them attract shoppers in a more strategic way, which is essential not only for business growth, but also for their long-term survival. 」