Sports and outdoor retailers survived the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.K. last year. Spending on their products rose by 7.2 percent, according to Barclaycard, which noted in particular the boom in home fitness while gyms were closed. Home improvement items and furniture scored similar increases. In contrast, general clothing contracted by 15.6 percent, contributing to a drop of more than 7 percent in the country’s total consumer spending.
Department stores were hit particularly hard, as consumers’ spending levels fell by 17.2 percent. Barclaycard found that consumption of non-essential goods, on the other hand, went up by 52.5 percent among general online retailers and by 25.4 percent at physical discount stores.
The closure of physical stores, which has now been extended to Scotland, has had a strong impact on employment in the retail sector, where 177,000 jobs were lost over the course of 2020, according to a study released by the Centre for Retail Research. That is 25 percent more layoffs than in 2019.
Of course, brick-and-mortar retailers suffered the most in the broad fashion sector in the U.K. as everywhere else. With 40 days fewer days of operation than in 2019, because of two retail lockdowns, German clothing stores lost about 30 percent of their revenues in 2020, according to TextilWirtschaft, with a drop of 35 percent in the first half followed by declines of 13 percent in the second quarter and 29 percent in the fourth quarter.
Aggregate online and offline sales of textiles, clothing, footwear and leathergoods fell in Germany by 21.1 percent in 2020, according to a preliminary estimate by Destatis, the federal statistics office.