Food and drink sales returned to year on year growth in July, according to new research.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG monthly sales monitor found that food sales increased by 2.9 per cent compared with a year ago, but have slowed as more consumers head to restaurants and cafes following restriction easing.
In the food and drink sector, stores benefited from England’s strong performance in the Euro 2020 football tournament, although concerns remain over price inflation.
READ MORE: Euro 2020 kicks off food and drink sales
The switch away from shopping in stores was confirmed in separate data from Barclaycard, which found that spending on entertainment saw growth for the first time since the pandemic began, as consumers bought tickets to the theatre, cinema and sporting events.
Around one in four added that they have also been dipping into savings to make the most of post-lockdown life, with pubs, bars and clubs seeing a strong month.
Barclaycard found consumer card spending grew 11.6 per cent in July compared to the same period in 2019 including a 4.1 per cent rise in fuel costs, the highest since before the pandemic due to rising oil prices and more people travelling on staycations.
“July continued to see strong sales, although growth has started to slow,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
“The lifting of restrictions did not bring the anticipated in-store boost, with the wet weather leaving consumers reluctant to visit shopping destinations.
“Online sales remained strong, and with weddings and other social events back on for the summer calendar, formalwear and beauty all began to see notable improvement, so fashion outlets, in particular, saw a bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.”
She also warned that the number of empty shops continues to rise and high streets require further investment, urging the government to implement wide-ranging changes to the business rates system.
Dickinson added: “Retailers want to play their part in building back a better future for local communities, and the government must give them the tools to do so.”
with PA Wires