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The pandemic had a negative impact on many business sectors. Retail, with nonessential stores forced to close for several months of the year, was no exception, but that disruption was very lopsided. Supermarkets had to bring in purchasing limits on certain ranges as demand was so high and online retail overall boomed for much of 2020 with categories such as home, electricals, garden, beers, wine and spirits, and beauty all recording triple-digit growth at various points. Clothing retailers, meanwhile, did not experience that online uplift.

As we head into 2021 — probably the most unpredictable year in living memory — there are many lingering questions as to which of the changes enforced by the pandemic will continue long term. As these charts show, Covid-19 scattered established trend lines through peaks and troughs that could never have been foreseen in 2019.

Forecasting for 2021 is a fraught process… but at least 2020, as disruptive as it was, can be assessed with some certainty as to what happened now.

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