High Street shows July dip

Sales figures from BDO Stoy Hayward?s High Street Sales Tracker for the week ending 5th July show further decline.
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Sales figures from BDO Stoy Hayward?s High Street Sales Tracker for the week ending 5th July show further decline.

Total sales fell by 5.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis, showing just how tough life on the High Street is for the UK’s retailers.

Non-fashion sales were 7.3 per cent lower this week compared to last year, marking the sharpest decline since the snow impacted week in early February. Demand was subdued in most categories with leisure and gifting stores the weakest performers.

Although fashion sales improved week-on-week, helped by some stores beginning their summer clearance promotions, results still remained in negative territory, down 4.1 per cent. Footwear, formalwear and lingerie were the weakest performers, while demand across niche and youth orientated stores held-up fairly well.

Against strong comparatives, homeware sales continued to retreat with results remaining firmly negative. There was very little good news with takings down in most categories representing the worst results for eight weeks.

Non-Store were up 20 per cent, with takings growing at their slowest rate since February. Although non-store channels are still outperforming the high street by a significant margin, the difference is markedly less.

Rupert Eastell, Head of Retail at BDO Stoy Hayward, said: "For a second consecutive week sales decreased across all three sectors, with overall takings falling by 5.6 per cent. Retailers will be hoping that sales figures will start to improve very quickly, or it could signal problems for a number of retailers."

"The exceptionally warm weather experienced by much of the country generally discouraged high street footfall, while a third week of summer discounting largely failed to stimulate significant new demand. Although some stores continue to report consistent like-for-like gains, these are dwindling in number, with some signs that pay freezes and unemployment pressure are now both starting to impact demand in many areas," concluded Eastell.

Consumer spending appeared to rise this week last year with retailers in all three sectors experiencing higher demand. Homeware stores lead the way with takings growing by 9.7 per cent, helped by steep discounts, while fashion (+3.8 per cent) and non-fashion (up 2.2 per cent) stores also had a relatively good week.