Kensington High Street

In what can only be described as great news, a 70 percent post quarantine surge in the UK in clothing and footwear sales reversed much of their slump from the last several months of forced closures.

British retail sales jumped back almost to pre-coronavirus lockdown levels in June when non-essential stores in England reopened, giving a boost to beleaguered clothing stores.

Sales volumes in June leapt by 13.9 percent from May, above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.

Household goods stores also saw strong sales in June especially for furniture and DIY materials. Home improvement retailer Kingfisher this week forecast first-half underlying profit ahead of last year after exceptionally strong demand.

Retail sales represent only about a third of consumer spending, however, and other figures suggest people remain cautious about returning to places like bars and restaurants.

The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, says payments data has suggested a rapid, V-shaped recovery.

The British Retail Consortium said earlier this month that spending among its members — typically large high-street chains — was 3.4 percent higher this June than last year.

Online spending, which soared at the start of the lockdown, fell as a share of overall spending as shoppers in England were able to return to stores from June 15 onwards. But at 31.8 percent, it remained much higher than February’s 20 percent.