Retailers Suffered Worst Year on Record for Sales Growth in 2020

Written by: Keith Tully

Clothing retailRetailers in the UK endured what was statistically their worst year on record in terms of sales growth during 2020.

The previous year was a tough one too for retailers, largely due to uncertainty around Brexit, but the Covid-19 crisis has ensured that 2020 was yet more challenging for operators in the sector.

According to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG retail sales monitor, there was a decline of 0.3 per cent in overall sales levels across all retailers last year.

Among the retailers to suffer most in terms of sales rate declines during 2020 were those reliant primarily on in-store activity and those focussed solely on non-food offerings.

Various Covid-related restrictions and enforced lockdowns dampened sales for most of last year for retailers in general but particularly for those categorised as ‘non-essential’.

The normally busy pre-Christmas period brought “little respite” for most retailers, with many parts of the UK heading back into a strict lockdown in mid-December.

According to Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, the current lockdown situation means retailers are losing out on billions of pounds in revenues and many will be “struggling to survive” if they do not get the financial support they need in the coming weeks.

Ms Dickinson has called for the government to urgently announce an extension to its business rates relief policy to help the retailers being most badly affected by the unfolding virus crisis.

“Further restrictions and the closure of many non-essential shops resulted in a dismal December performance for those retailers on the high street,” commented Paul Martin from KPMG in a statement.

“Looking ahead, fortunes will be mixed but pent up savings and a successful vaccine roll out will help support recovery in the retail sector later in the year,” he added.  

According to the latest data, although 2020 was exceptionally tough for most retailers, there was an unprecedentedly high level of money spent on food and drink over the Christmas and New Year period.

“There was a significant uplift in online grocery shopping over the festive period,” researchers working on the BRC-KPMG sales monitor noted.

Keith Tully

Keith Tully

Join Keith Tully on Linked In Follow Keith Tully on Twitter

Keith has been involved in Business Rescue since 1992, during which time he’s worked for both independent and national firms. His specialties include company restructuring matters and negotiating with HMRC on his clients behalf.

Meet our Team of Experts
Director Support - Business suffering from Cash-Flow Problems?
If your company is financially distressed, we also offer the below services:
Business debt recovery

  • Recover Unpaid Invoices of £5k+
  • Expert Credit Control Services
  • Stop Late Payers & Bad Debts
Visit Site
Time to pay experts

  • Get Breathing Space with HMRC
  • Support with Business Tax Arrears
  • 35 Years HMRC Negotiation
Visit Site
UK Business Finance

  • Rejected for a CBILS Loan?
  • Get Emergency Business Funding
  • Supporting 1000+ UK Companies
Visit Site
Who we help
  • Company Directors
  • Finance Directors
  • Sole Traders
  • Accountants
  • Small Businesses
  • Large Businesses
  • Partnerships
Contact our team
Jonathan Munnery
Gillian Sayburn
Julie Palmer
or Find your Nearest Office

Here at Real Business Rescue we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to contact you with regards to your enquiry. We will not use your information for marketing purposes. See PRIVACY POLICY

Business Rescue Advice for Directors
Free Guide for Limited Company Directors
Business Rescue Advice for Directors
  • How to manage company cash flow problems
  • Advice on dealing with HMRC
  • Understanding rescue and closure options
  • And much more...
Free Guide Download
Dealing with your Insolvent Clients
Business Rescue Guide for Accountants
Dealing with your Insolvent Clients
  • Helping you advise insolvent clients
  • Spotting signs of client distress
  • Exploring business rescue options
  • And much more...
Free Guide Download
Our numbers speak for themselves
Number of UK Offices
Directors Helped
Licensed Insolvency Practitioners

This site uses cookies to monitor site performance and provide a more responsive and personalised experience. You must agree to our use of certain cookies. For more information on how we use and manage cookies please read our PRIVACY POLICY