- July retail sales volumes increased by 3.6% when compared with June, and are 3% above pre-pandemic levels in February 2020
- Online sales dipped by 7% as people returned to high streets
- Despite growth, fashion sector remained 25.7% lower than February
Responding to the latest retail figures from the ONS which showed that retails sales were rising across Great Britain, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry said: "In what is no doubt one of the toughest periods of trade for small businesses in recent history, it's promising to see that people are indeed confident enough to go out and shop once again.
"One clear sign that people are physically shopping once again is the first drop in online sales (down 7% on June '20) since November 2019, which after a record period of online sales throughout lockdown was inevitable. But many small firms, especially in recent months have either expanded or developed their online presence, so it’s vital that both physical as well as online sales remain buoyant.
"Many small firms have been only open for a matter of weeks, but the support that was on hand such as a the job retention scheme, incentives like Eat Out to Help Out and access to funds via local authority grants are all going to be closing or wound down over the next few weeks or months, which means that the struggles for small businesses show no end in sight.
"We are in the midst of the deepest recession on record, and we need the Government to take a proactive approach to how it will support business right across the country. After months of measures to ensure job and business survival, the next stage is about how we can grow once again to aid business and job creation.
"We are calling on the Government to issue the most pro-business, pro-self-employed Budget ever seen that encourages innovation, brings goods and services to market while avoiding taxes that could further stifle already struggling businesses.
"The green shoots of the economy are visible, but we cannot see these and become complacent, for some firms it will take many months and potentially years to fully recover from this crisis."
As the UK’s largest business support group, FSB is the voice of the UK’s small businesses and the self-employed. Established over 40 years ago to help its members succeed in business, FSB is a non-profit making and non-party political organisation that’s led by its members, for its members. As the UK’s leading business campaigner, FSB is focused on delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed.
FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including access to finance, business banking, legal advice and support along with a powerful voice in Government. Each year FSB also runs the UK’s Celebrating Small Business Awards. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk. You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy and on Instagram @fsb_uk.