Compared to sales in May, sales leapt by 13.9 per cent in June, according to newly released data from the Office for National Statistics, reports the BBC.

Two months of double-digit growth in the sector brought sales close to the levels in June 2019. Analysts had predicted an increase of 8 per cent, from data compiled by Pantheon Macroeconomics.

However, some types of shops were left behind by the boom last month. Richard Lim, the chief executive of Retail Economics said the bounce-back was likely due to the pent-up demand for some retailers from consumers as shops reopened.

“But the recovery is being felt unevenly across the sector, with clothing retailers remaining under significant pressure,” he added.

“Some consumers searching to break the monotony of being at home headed for the high street, but numbers remained considerably lower than pre-COVID levels.”

High street shops have been losing out to online retailers, who have seen an incredible boost to sales figures as consumers are home all day to receive parcels. Online spending as a proportion of overall spending dropped to 31.8 per cent in June, compared to 33.3 per cent in May, an all-time record, but June’s figures are still much higher than the 20 per cent reported in February,

ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow noted that food sales continued at their pre-lockdown levels, possibly due to the closure of cafes, restaurants, and pubs.

While online sales hit record highs, counting for every £3 in £10 spent, clothing sales remain depressed, and non-food stores all across the high street are down by a third on pre-pandemic levels.

“The latest three months as a whole still saw the weakest quarterly growth on record,” he said.

Labour MP Lucy Powell, the shadow business secretary, said she was pleased with the encouraging signs that the high street was showing, she was concerned about other corners of the retail sector that continued to struggle, which threatens jobs people’s livelihoods.

“That’s why Labour is calling on ministers to launch a new £1.7 billion fightback fund to protect businesses and jobs in hospitality and on the high street, by giving local areas more flexibility over how to support their local economies,” she said.

With the return of shoppers to the high street comes the new enforcement of mandatory face coverings for all shops, supermarkets, and shopping centres. According to guidance issued by the government, staff in shops are encouraged to take action to ensure compliance with the law, excluding customers who do not have a valid reason for not wearing a mask.

But the message has been somewhat confused, with the government saying it is the responsibility of the individual to wear a face covering, and some retailers saying they will not be enforcing the rule, and some saying it is the responsibility of the authorities to enforce it.

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