Sales fell by almost a fifth in May. The labor market is also still in free fall.

Empty pedestrian zones, closed shops: a snapshot from Widnes.

DUK retail sales fell by almost a fifth in May due to the curfew related to the coronavirus pandemic. According to its monthly HSST barometer, sales in brick-and-mortar and online retail have fallen by 18.3 percent, the auditing firm BDO announced on Friday. This is the second worst value after the 29.6 percent slump in April. The sale of clothing even shrunk by 22.6 percent in May.

The UK government imposed a curfew on March 23, causing all non-systemic stores to close. Outdoor markets have been allowed to take place again since June 1, and car dealerships have also been open again since then. The other shops should be allowed to receive customers again from June 15, provided that they ensure compliance with the distance rules.

In addition, according to a survey, the UK’s labor market remained in free fall in May, even if the decline in labor demand slowed slightly. The monthly index for the demand for personnel has increased to 19.3 from its record low of 9.3 in April, the association REC and the auditing company KPMG announced on Friday. However, this value is far from the threshold of 50, above which there is talk of increasing demand. The health and care sectors are the only areas where more staff are being sought. In the retail trade as well as the hotel and restaurant industry, however, demand has plummeted. In view of the curfew, however, these numbers are no surprise.