Travel curbs and homeworking prompt people to shop locally instead of in city centres. Kalyeena Makortoff in the Guardian. December 2020.
Britain’s independent shops had a sales boost in 2020 despite an overall drop in retail spending, as Covid travel restrictions and working from home prompted consumers to shop on local high streets instead of city centres.
Data from Barclaycard shows spending at independent food and drink shops, including off-licences, butchers and bakeries, jumped 28.6% in 2020 compared with a year earlier.
In contrast, total consumer spending fell 7.1%, as social distancing rules left shoppers with fewer opportunities to spend on overseas holidays, hospitality and in city centres.
Barclaycard, which covers nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions, found that while spending on essential goods such as groceries rose by 4.1% compared with 2019, non-essential spending fell 11.3%.
Department stores were particularly hard hit, with spending down 17.2%, while clothing retailers experienced a 15.6% slump, leading to the financial problems at the likes of Debenhams and the Topshop owner, Arcadia. However, bricks and mortar discounters had a 25.4% increase, as Britons facing furlough and job cuts sought value for money deals.