Britain is a nation of shopkeepers and, the bounce-back since the covid quarter suggests, a nation of shoppers.
Retail sales across all sectors were back to year-on-year growth in July, and have continued that growth into August, according to Office of National Statistics figures released today.
August sales were up by 0.8%, compared to the same month last year, but brick and mortar sales remain down.
Analysts suggest that people unable to get away on holiday this year turned to retail therapy instead.
Online and catalogue sales were up 34.4% on the year in August, while primarily in-store clothing sales were 15.5% lower, despite a 13.5% rise from July.
The watch market is showing similar results, according to GfK data for August.
Overall watch sales returned to YoY growth of 2.1% in August, but the picture is mixed across physical and digital sales; and between Greater London (down 13%) and the rest of Great Britain (up 4.4%).
Online sales are up 60%, according to GfK.
The situation in the golden triangle covering Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and Knightsbridge is far worse, insiders tell WatchPro, with luxury watch sales down closer to 50%.
Rising total value of sales is being driven by dramatically rising average prices, which were up by 36% in August. This means that the value of sales is up, despite 25% fewer watches being sold in the month.
There is no sign that sales lost during the covid quarter are being recouped, but businesses that survived can at least plan with some confidence that the worst is over as long as the government holds its nerve with cases rising as we head into the autumn.