Another blow for the retail sector as the total volume of retail sales dropped by a record 18.1 per cent in April compared to March as the coronavirus lockdown took hold across the UK, according to the ONS.

Fashion retail was the worst-hit sector, with clothing sales plunging 50.2 per cent compared to March, during which it had already seen a fall of 34.9 per cent compared to February, the ONS said.

“The effects of Covid-19 have contributed to a record monthly fall in retail sales of nearly a fifth. Fuel and clothing sales fell significantly while spending on food also dropped after the surge from the panic buying seen last month. Off-licence sales, however, continued to increase. Online shopping has again surged as people purchased goods from their homes.” – ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said.