Recent reports show that sales in the retail sector have climbed back to pre-pandemic levels, offering hope to traders at SME level.

The figures from July indicate a dramatic upturn as lockdown rules are gradually eased, allowing shoppers the freedom to visit their favourite high street shops once more.

Queuing measures remain in place for some larger shops, while the wearing of face masks has also been made mandatory, unless you have a medical exemption.

But despite the restrictions, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that sales grew by 3.6% between June and July, with the effect being felt from top to bottom.

Sales are also now 3% higher than they were in February and the period immediately before the UK was placed under lockdown.

There has also been positive news for the UK’s manufacturing and service sectors, which has seen encouraging growth in August.

One report attributed the upturn to the reopening of businesses and a “greater willingness-to-spend among UK households”.

Last week, we explored the business community’s challenges around striking a balance between economic health and employee well-being, and these latest stats perhaps offer hope that recovery is possible, despite ongoing measures to control Coronavirus and protect people from catching the virus.

The retail sector has been one of the worst hit as a result of the lockdown, with major names in the industry announcing job cuts.

It’s also been tough for operators at SME level, who’ve been forced to either scale down operations, invest in online trading platforms or seek out ways for staff to continue to serve customers in a socially-distanced and Covid-secure manner, so these latest figures should be cause for optimism

At Cooper Accounting, we’ve spoken at length with customers about their experiences throughout Coronavirus.

We have been inspired by the spirit in adversity shown by local businesses, and we have worked hand-in-hand with directors and the self-employed to help them manage cashflow during such a challenging period.

Get in touch to discover how we can help relieve the stress behind the scenes and allow you to focus on overcoming this year’s unique obstacles.