LONDON, United Kingdom — UK retail sales dropped by nearly a fifth last month as restrictions to control the coronavirus left most stores shuttered.
Sales volumes declined 18.1 percent from March, the most since records began in 1988, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. From a year earlier, sales fell 22.6 percent.
The unprecedented decline shows the hit the economy has taken from the UK’s lockdown, which left only supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential stores open. April’s reading may prove the nadir however, with other shops gradually reopening this month and more hopeful of a return in June.
A bright spot was online sales, which surged to a record, as the lockdown forced people to shop online.
By Jill Ward and David Goodman.