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Retail on the Rise: U.K. Shopping Sees Sharp Increase

With the end of lockdown on the horizon, reduced restrictions in the U.K. hint at a promising revival of retail.

The Office for National Statistics in the U.K. has released data surrounding the sharp 9.2 percent monthly increase in retail sales after non-essential retail made a return on April 12.  

Non-food stores saw a significant 69.4 percent increase in sales, while clothing stores saw a 25.3 percent increase, bringing the monthly total to a 42.4 percent increase in sales over April 2020 (not to mention a quantity increase of 40 percent over the same timeframe). 

At the same time, online sales saw a decrease of activity as bricks-and-mortar made a return, dropping to 30 percent sales in April 2021 over March's 34.1 percent. 

In the week ending May 29, the clear weather and further easing of lockdowns bolstered retail footfall, bringing it to 73 percent of the activity seen on the same week in 2019, thanks to a 7 percent weekly increase and retail parks leading the charge over high street visits. 

The pub and restaurant sectors also saw a monumental increase in diners, as May bookings climbed to 173 percent of their equivalent timeframe in 2019. 

With June potentially heralding the close of lockdown as we know it, retail and employment activity on the rise, 2021 is finally hinting at some semblance of normalcy after 18 months of uncertainty. 

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