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Retail Sees Strongest Annual Growth In 17yrs

There are good signs for the retail industry for 2022, after recent annual figures show sales have risen by the greatest amount for 17 years.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the volume of retail sales grew by 5.1 per cent between 2020 and 2021. This has not been seen since 2004, when it also rose by 5.1 per cent.

However, it just missed out on record statistics, as 2002 saw retail sales grow by an impressive 5.7 per cent over the year.

While sales did drop in 2020 compared to normal levels, as a result of coronavirus lockdowns, this is still positive news for the industry, as 2021 also saw restrictions that prevented shoppers hitting the high street.

Indeed, a national lockdown between January and March resulted in stores having to close once more, and the unprecedented spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 before Christmas meant festive shopping was more subdued than usual.

Despite this, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed total sales in 2021 rose by 9.9 per cent compared with the previous year, increasing by 2.1 per cent in December alone.

Chief executive of the BRC Helen Dickinson stated: “Despite the recent Omicron outbreak, retail sales held up through December.”

She noted that formalwear sales slowed, as a result of Christmas parties being cancelled, but there was an increase in loungewear purchases instead.

Ms Dickinson acknowledged those in the industry, adding: “In the face of rising case numbers and supply chain issues, people in retail pulled out all the stops to ensure everyone got what they wanted this Christmas.”