Retail sales plummet amid new COVID-19 variant outbreak in the UK

Stricter lockdown restrictions imposed in England following rise in cases of a new, more contagious COVID-19 variant has caused a major dent to the country’s retail sector. According to British Retail Consortium (BRC), stores specializing in clothing and footwear have particularly been impacted by these restrictions, while non-essential retailers have witnessed declining sales ever since the outbreak began.

Drop in consumer spending and confidence ever since the inception of the new virus variant has extensively impacted the retail sector, added BRC.

Incidentally, a survey conducted by Barclaycard has also reported a sharp fall in consumer spending and a looming worry about job loss among Britons. The company claims that tougher border control have impacted holiday bookings. While confidence in job security has edged to the lowest level, with just 40% of Britons claiming to be optimistic about their job prospects.

In view of the current situation, it is likely that Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, could face the pressure for his budget on March 3 that aims at extending tax relief programs targeted on helping struggling retail shops and other businesses during this pandemic.

Speaking on the same, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive, BRC, said that to avoid further impacts on viable businesses and prevent potential jobs losses, the government must offer a much-needed financial support to firms which have been hit the hardest in this health crisis.

Apparently, after suffering for a year due to lockdowns and restrictions, retailers in the UK are now hanging on the hopes of a vaccine rollout to boost their fortunes.

The BRC however reports that there were certain businesses that displayed promising growth in January, one being online shopping platforms that witnessed surge in sales given to factors like closure of schools, forcing parents to purchase laptops, computers and printers for their children. Apart from this, alcohol sales has also spiked, claims the agency.

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By Priya Deshmukh

Priya started her professional journey with a career in content writing. Endowed with an MBA degree in Marketing, she believes in the power of content and its prominence in today’s fast-paced world of online marketing. Priya writes news articles for across business, technology, healthcare, and other areas of interest.