The latest research and analysis from the British Retail Consortium

The MIA’s Membership with the British Retail Consortium gives us access to an expanded portfolio of content to share with our members. The BRC produces unbiased research and analysis on retail performance and the economic drivers influencing the British retail industry. We’re pleased to share the headline statistics from 3 reports on UK retail sales, footfall and employment. You’ll also find some information about a free webinar to help grow and maximise your online presence.

As a member of the BRC, the MIA can share the reports mentioned below with our members. If you are an MIA member and you would like to see any of these reports in full, please contact

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for March 2021

Headline Statistics: 

  • In March, UK retail sales increased 8.4% on a Like-for-like basis from March 2019, when they had decreased 1.1% from the preceding year. In March, Like-for-like has been measured excluding temporarily closed stores but including Online sales.
  • On a Total basis, sales increased by 8.3% in March, against a decline of 0.5% in March 2019. This is above the 3-month average growth of 2.7%.
  • Over the three months to March, In-Store sales of Non-Food items declined 44.4% on a Total and 44.0% on a Like-for-like basis. This is worse than the 2019 Total average decline of 3.1%. For March, the like-for-like excluding temporarily closed stores remained in decline.
  • Over the three months to March, Food sales increased 14.7% on a Like-for-like basis and 11.6% on a Total basis. This is higher than the 2019 Total average growth of 1.4%. For the month of March, Food was in growth year-on-year.
  • Over the three-months to March, Non-Food retail sales decreased by 4.5% on a like-for-like basis and 4.7% on a Total basis. This is below the 2019 Total average decline of 1.3%. For the month of March, Non-Food was in growth year-on-year.
  • Online Non-Food sales increased by 94.0% in March, against a growth of 3.0% in March 2019. This is above the 3-mth average of 90.8%. Non-Food Online penetration rate increased from 43.3% in March 2020 to 58.0% this March.

The BRC-SENSORMATIC IQ Footfall Monitor for March 2021 

Key Findings include:

  • Total UK Footfall decreased by 68.7% in March, with only a 4.9 percentage point improvement from February. This is above the 3-month average decline of 72.3%.
  • Footfall on High Streets declined by 64.6%. This is above the 3-month average decline of 67.9%.
  • Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 36.8%, 2.3 percentage points below last month’s rate. This is marginally above the 3-month average decline of 38.8%.
  • Shopping Centre footfall declined by 73.2%. This is above the 3-month average decline of 76.2%.

The BRC Retail Employment Report

In this report, the BRC cover the primary changes to retail employment in 2020, and look ahead to how the sector might change over the next ten years.

The following is an extract from the executive summary:

  • There remain 3.1m jobs in retail, COVID restrictions have caused changes to patterns of demand and non-essential store closures resulting in 67,000 fewer jobs as of December 2020 when compared to the same point in the previous year.
  • Retail jobs have declined by 3.8% between 2015 and 2020, compared to a 3.0% rise in the total UK workforce. Government support has been a lifeline during this period of disrupted demand, with 600,000 retail workers using the furlough scheme in February.
  • 80% of spend was made through stores pre-pandemic. The rent moratorium & Business rates holiday have protected store jobs until demand can return, although up to 20% of the increase in online spend is likely to persist.
  • The shift to online channels has caused a surge in investment in that area, delivering a decade of digital transformation in just 12 months. We expect 10-20% of this shift in spend to persist once free movement is permitted again.

Free training from Google Digital Garage

The BRC believe that the rapid shift to online means it’s even more important for retailers to have a strong digital footprint. That’s why they’re proud to partner with Google Digital Garage who can provide free webinars to help grow and maximise your online presence.

Interested in Getting Your Business Visible with Google? Join  the first free workshop on 21st April at 11am

In this session you will learn:

  • What is Google Search and how it works
  • Tips on building your online presence and where it appears in Search results
  • How to optimise Google Maps and use it as a tool to connect with your customers


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