UK Retail Sales Hit the Biggest Decline in March

The UK National Bureau of Statistics (ONS) announced on April 24 that retail sales in March 2020 decreased by 5.1%, the largest drop since the start of statistics in 1996, because many stores follow the official new coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic prevention guidelines, It will be closed from March 23rd. This data covers the sales situation from March 1 to April 4, 2020.

Excluding auto fuel, the UK retail sales fell by 3.7% in March 2020, the largest decline since the statistics began in 1988.

It is worth noting that online sales accounted for 22.3% of the UK ’s overall retail sales in March 2020, a record high. On the other hand, the sales of clothing stores in the UK fell by 34.8% in March.

British food stores posted a 10.4% monthly increase in retail sales in March, the largest increase in history. Among them, liquor store sales surged by 31.4%.

Affected by the sharp decline in non-food stores and fuel retail, UK retail sales fell by 1.8% annually from January to March 2020 (a quarterly decrease of 1.6%).

Markit / The Royal Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) announced on April 23 that the initial valuation of the UK Composite Output Index fell to 12.9 in April 2020 from 36.0 in March, breaking a record low of 38.1 in November 2008 .

The UK ’s April service industry business activity index fell to 12.3 from 34.5 in March, the lowest since the survey began in July 1996. The survey data was collected during April 7-21, 2020.

The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of England (BOE) issued a press release on April 9 to announce the temporary expansion of the long-established “Ways and Means facility”. The press release emphasized that any quota used by the fundraiser for braking is temporary and short-term. The fundraising mechanism is the BOE overdraft channel that the British government already has. Any money spent will be repaid as soon as possible by the end of the year.