The British Retail Consortium says the survival of retail in Britain still hangs in the balance.
The comment came as the BRC responded to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed a 2.7% increase in overall sales.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, explained: “The latest ONS sales results mask a crisis under way in some parts of the retail industry. While food and online have shown growth, the hustle and bustle of shoppers and workers has yet to return to major town and city centres, continuing to impact sales significantly in those locations.
“In-store non-food sales were down over £1.6bn per week during lockdown and July’s uplift reported by the ONS doesn’t make up for that lost ground.”
She concluded: “The survival of many retail businesses hangs in the balance. Some retailers haven’t been able to pay their rent for the period where they were required to close for our national benefit and numbers of job losses and shop closures are rising.
“Unless another viable solution is found, the Government should extend the moratorium on aggressive landlord debt enforcement beyond September.”