Press releases

Deloitte comments on ONS retail sales

23 October 2020

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said:

“Retail sales in September rebounded beyond pre-pandemic levels, as both month-on-month values and volumes recovered to 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively. September’s figures will be a welcome boost to retailers that continue to navigate through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a tumultuous six months, September’s sales also mark a year-on-year improvement, up 3.4% by value.

“In a month where workers returned to home workplaces and consumers were no longer ‘eating out to help out’ under the government’s scheme, grocers have reported strong food sales, up in value both month-on-month (0.5%) and year-on-year (6%). Likewise, many consumers found themselves subject to new, localised lockdown restrictions in this period, and we can start to see a small uptick in food sales.

“Non-food sales saw some month-on-month growth, up 3.8% in value, recovering to beyond February’s pre-lockdown levels, as the start of the academic year helped maintained growth, with pupils headed back to school and students re-embarking on university life. Similarly, as consumers continue to spend more time at home and transition to more permanent remote working arrangements, home improvements and home office space creation has been a driver of household and furniture sales.

“Online trade, whilst slowing by -1.2% this month, remains 53% above year-on-year comparables, with web orders accounting for 27.5% of overall retail sales. As the nine-week countdown to Christmas begins, retailers will be keen to maintain online momentum and ensure distribution can continue to cope throughout the festive season. As a result, we may see earlier-than-ever discounting from retailers, enticing consumers to spread out their Christmas shopping and thereby stage demand over a longer, more manageable period. For some retailers, Black Friday will be an important supply chain ‘dress rehearsal’ for an increasingly online Christmas.”


Notes to Editors

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.

Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NSE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

Did you find this useful?