Sales of wine, beer and spirits soared by almost a third as the British made their way through the lockout.
With pubs closed across the country, people are drinking more at home and creating parties and virtual bars on video conferencing apps.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news and updates
In all types of merchandise, sales fell 5.1% in March – the largest monthly decline since the records began 30 years ago, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Sales of non-food products fell 20%, as clothing retailers’ revenues fell 35%.
But the increase in food and beverage sales helped to level things up a bit – alcohol sales alone increased 31.4%.
This means that an additional £ 300 million was spent on alcohol by the British in March, bringing the monthly total to around £ 1.2 billion.
Fraser McKevitt, Kantar analysts, said, “Those who are already missing their favorite haunts have refueled to recreate pub trips with friends on apps like Zoom, Houseparty and FaceTime – boosting alcohol sales. “
“120MILLION PINTS PER WEEK”
Wine was the most popular tipple during the lockout, followed by lager, gin, whiskey, craft beer, cider, beer and alcopops, according to a separate CGA study for Wine and Spirit Trade Association.
Stores say the British buy twice as much beer as normal, which means they consume 120 million pints a week.
The numbers will be a welcome boost for beverage companies losing their sales due to the closure of pubs.
But that will bring some comfort to the 47,000 boozers across Britain who may remain closed until Christmas.
Give now to the NHS call from the Sun
Britain’s four million NHS members are at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus.
But while they are helping to save lives, who is there to help them?
The Sun has appealed to raise £ 1 million for NHS workers. The call from Who Cares Wins aims to gain vital support from staff in their hour of need.
We have partnered with NHS Charities Together in their urgent Covid-19 appeal to ensure that money gets to exactly who needs it.
The Sun is donating £ 50,000 and we would like YOU to help us raise a million pounds to help them. No matter how little you can save, please donate today: www.thesun.co.uk/whocareswinsappeal.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Center for Retail Research, said, “Some people may decide that beer is the best medicine.
“There is good trade in alcohol spending in stores, with a share of alcohol consumption going from pubs to homes due to the coronavirus, and the upward trend in home consumption will continue. “
But alcohol melts on the cracks in the middle of a scorching heat for many retailers.
Although supermarkets have seen their revenues increase by 10% – and food sales double online – they are expected to decline next month as families begin to restock.
And experts suggest that the general collapse should get worse.
Thomas Pugh of Capital Economics said: “With widespread bottlenecks that do not begin until mid-March, retail spending is expected to drop much more in April, perhaps 20 to 30 percent.”
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN KNOWLEDGE
Don’t miss the latest news and figures – and essential tips for you and your family.
To receive the Coronavirus du Soleil newsletter in your inbox every tea hour, sign up here.
To follow us on Facebook, just like our Coronavirus page.
Get Britain’s best-selling daily newspaper on your smartphone or tablet every day – learn more.
RETURN FROM MAC
McDonald’s “will reopen in mid-May for drive-thru and delivery”
DO IT YOURSELF
B&Q reopens 155 stores – full list of branches
Aldi’s new range of gardens includes superb furniture, weedkillers and tools
A time capsule with an intact 1960s interior is on sale for £ 1.35m
WAIT FOR SALARY
How to check if your employer has correctly calculated your salary
B&Q stores open today, and how to order online
He said department store sales were up 2.8% month-over-month, but this appears to be due to purchases of food and other items online.
However, Karen Johnson, Retail Manager at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “Although the key figures are expected, there are some glimmers of hope – spending on food and beverages being a notable area of success, if not unexpected.
“Brick and mortar retailers have seen the drop-in demand disappear. But the first indications are that online spending has also performed better than expected – showing that consumer spending hasn’t closed completely. “
Join our George Cross campaign for NHS staff
We urge Sun readers to sign a petition asking our NHS staff to receive the George Cross.
We support Lord Ashcroft’s proposal to honor our health heroes with the gong of bravery given for acts of bravery that did not take place in battle.
A No10 spokesperson said, “The NHS is doing a fantastic job and the nation will want to find a way to thank you when we have defeated this virus.” SAS hero Andy McNab added: “The award of a George’s cross would show emotional appreciation.”
We ask our readers to sign the petition below.