Britain's retail sales volumes fall by 2.5 percent in July despite COVID restrictions lift
The Xinhua reported that British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Friday, the Britain's retail sales volumes fell by 2.5 percent in July from June despite the lift of coronavirus restrictions, but still 5.8 percent higher than the pre-pandemic levels in February last year.
The ONS said, Food store sales volumes dropped monthly by 1.5 percent in July, following an increase in the previous month when sales were boosted by the Euro 2020 football championship, while non-food stores sales volumes plunged by 4.4 percent in July compared with June.
The ONS data showed, automotive fuel sales volumes decreased by 2.9 percent over the month, marking the first monthly fall since February 2021.
"Disappointing 2.5 percent m/m fall in UK retail sales in July is hard to explain," said British independent economist Julian Jessop, adding that "hopefully just reflects end of Euros, diversion of spending to hospitality etc. as COVID restrictions lifted, and bad weather. But perhaps also shortages of some goods due to global supply chain problems."
Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, an economic research consultancy, said he wouldn't attribute July's fall to people returning to restaurants. "Non-food sales fell more than food. Disruption and fear caused by the Delta (coronavirus variant first identified in Indian) wave was the dominant driver."
Read more: Afghans hired to guard British Embassy in Kabul won’t receive protection from UK
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said the lifting of restrictions "did not bring the anticipated in-store boost, with the wet weather leaving consumers reluctant to visit shopping destinations."
England lifted almost all its remaining COVID-19 restrictions since July 19. More than 87 percent of people aged 16 and over in Britain have had their first dose of vaccine and more than 75 percent have received both doses, the latest figures showed.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.