Food retail sales hold onto gains made over the pandemic

Date : 24 January 2022

The ONS has released the retail volume and sales results to December 2021.

Food retailers experienced a successful December 2021, with non-seasonally adjusted volumes up 0.1% when compared to December 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing closure of hospitality and travel led to increased volumes for food retailers. Volumes are up 1.4% when compared to December 2019. As we move out of the pandemic and hospitality re-opens across the UK it remains to be seen whether retailers can maintain these increased volumes.

The shift to online

The pandemic has also driven growth in online retail channels for both food and non-food products, the chart below illustrates that this change looks to be permanent.

Click chart to enlarge

This shift to online has come at a time of accelerating store closures (see chart below).

Click chart to enlarge

With shoppers’ economic position weakening due to slowing wage growth and rising inflation, it is likely more people will shop around retail channels to find the best value. 2022 looks set to be tough for households and retailers alike.

See our latest Viewpoint report for further insight.

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