Furniture retail sales rise in December; carpet sales fall again

Furniture retail sales rose during December compared to last year as well as against the previous month.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the value of furniture and lighting sales resulted at £1.6bn, up 33% from £1.2bn in November. It was the seventh straight month sales had been over £1.1bn and the largest during 2020.

Compared to the December 2019, sales improved slightly by 6.6% from £1.5bn.

Flooring sales reported a sharp decline during December by 22.9% to £109.8m from £142.5m in November. Compared to December last year, sales were down 20.2% from £137.7m.

Overall, the value of sales increased by 1.3% to £51.3bn year-on-year, while the volume of sales rose by 2.9% – marking an eighth consecutive month of growth.

Total online retailing values increased by 46.1% in 2020 when compared with 2019, the highest annual growth reported since 2008.

Commenting on August’s Retail Sales figures, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said: “December’s retail sales increased slightly, driven by an improved month for clothing sales, as the easing of some lockdown measures for parts of the month meant more stores were able to open. Food store sales this month were subdued as retailers reported lockdowns and restrictions on the sale of non-essential items impacted on footfall.

“Retail sales for 2020 saw their largest annual fall in history as the impact of the pandemic took its toll. Clothing retailers fared particularly badly, with a record annual fall of over 25%, while movement restrictions led to a record year-on-year decline for fuel sales.

“Some sectors were able to buck the trend in 2020. The increased popularity of click and collect and people buying more items from home led to a strong year for overall internet sales, with record highs for food and household goods sales online.”