By: The Guardian
Britain’s retailers suffered a second successive slump in monthly sales during May as the coronavirus shutdown took its toll on the high street.
Price cutting by furniture and homewares shops, which were among the worst hit, failed to entice customers to open their wallets, leaving last month’s sales figures down by 5.9% compared with the same month last year.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said there were some glimmers of hope last month, which figures from Barclaycard supported, but the outlook remained grim for many retailers even as the lockdown began to ease.
From 15 June, most shops will be allowed to re-open, though a demand by ministers that they require customers to maintain physical distancing has thrown the sector into confusion and sparked demands in some quarters for a relaxation of the distancing rule from 2 metres to 1 metre.
Last month the BRC warned that shops face a “fight for survival” in the coming months as they try to restore their fortunes with tough new physical distancing and health and safety requirements.
Its latest monthly health check of the retail sector found May’s decrease was the second worst decline on record after April’s 19% collapse.
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