Image copyright Getty Images British retail gross sales have continued to extend for the fourth consecutive month, boosted by spending on family items and DIY, in line with official figures.The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated retail gross sales volumes rose by 0.8% between July and August.Sales at the moment are 4% larger than in February, when a pandemic was declared.”Retail sales continued to grow, further surpassing their pre-pandemic level,” the ONS stated. “Sales of household goods thrived as the demand for home improvement continued and, despite a dip this month, online sales remained high,” stated Jonathan Athow, deputy nationwide statistician for financial statistics on the ONS.Spending on family items was significantly robust in August, with retailers reporting a 9.9% soar in gross sales of homeware merchandise in contrast with the pre-pandemic ranges seen in February.But August’s improve was smaller than the post-lockdown rebound seen in July, when retail gross sales volumes grew 3.6%.High Street ‘beneath stress’Online gross sales additionally fell by 2.5% in August compared with the earlier month. But the robust progress within the variety of clients procuring on-line in the course of the pandemic has meant that gross sales have been nonetheless 46.8% larger than in February. Although on-line retailers may need seen larger numbers of clicks in latest months, many High Street shops are nonetheless struggling to draw clients after lockdown measures have been eased nationally.The quantity of things bought in clothes outlets, for instance, nonetheless stood 15.9% beneath February’s pre-pandemic ranges in August.”Clothing stores continued to struggle with sales still well below their February level. Overall, the switch to greater online sales means the High Street remains under pressure,” Mr Athow added.’Mixed bag’ restorationHelen Dickinson, chief government of the British Retail Consortium, stated: “The recovery remains a mixed bag, with high growth in online sales, while city centre shops suffered as a result of low footfall.”She added: “With further lockdowns looming, the government must provide clarity on the impact it will have for shops. “Retailers have invested a whole bunch of tens of millions making shops secure and safe for patrons in the course of the pandemic; this consists of perspex screens, social distancing measures and extra hygiene measures. As such, retail stays a secure area for shoppers, even beneath native lockdowns.”While August saw some consumers returning to city centres to take advantage of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, industry figures have suggested those areas might struggle to reach pre-pandemic levels of footfall.Entrepreneur and ex-Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis told the BBC’s Today programme: “It’s actually attention-grabbing as you see the boldness within the client in travelling exterior their home. Our enterprise exterior the metropolitan areas… is remarkably stronger than it’s inside.”It’s the fact that people lose the confidence to go far outside their normal area of habitat,” he stated.”It will never be the same again – I really can’t see our stores ever reaching the levels in metropolitan areas that they did before, because I think the genie’s out of the bottle.” Image copyright PA Image caption M&S introduced in August it is going to reduce 7,000 jobs throughout shops and administration Several High Street chains additionally introduced job cuts in August as they battled to shore up their companies in the course of the pandemic.Sandwich chain Pret A Manger introduced it will reduce 3,000 jobs, or greater than a 3rd of its workforce, whereas division retailer chains Debenhams and M&S stated they’d be reducing 2,500 and seven,000 jobs. Lisa Hooker, client markets chief at PwC, stated that the run-up to Christmas can be essential for retailers.”Retailers will be hoping that the fragile recovery is not derailed by more widespread lockdowns, rising unemployment or dented consumer confidence,” she stated.