High Street sales slip in October

Retail sales trackers report like-for-like drops as families hold back on Christmas shopping.
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The High Street recorded another month of negative growth according to two retail trade associations.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) found a like-for-like dip of 0.6 per cent in October with the BDO High Street Sales Tracker reporting three per cent drop.

The BRC described the performance of toys as 'mixed' due to 'aggressive discounting and special pre-Christmas deals with strong competition between supermarkets and specialists.'

Away from the High Street the BDO said that non-store sales grew 20.7 per cent.

Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “Despite the unremitting flow of bleak news, the non-stores sales show consumers’ underlying desire to spend is still there. At the moment there aren’t many reasons to shop but retailers must continue to work hard to provide those reasons by offering ‘too good to miss’ deals and great service.”

Stephen Robertson, director general at BRC, said: “Which part of the wave we're riding varies from month to month but the water is consistently chilly. For a fifth month, total sales growth continues its strangely regular flip-flopping between 2.5 and 1.5 per cent.

“But, the year-to-date figure, which smooths out these minor moves, is unchanged from the previous month. This is evidence of the basic weakness of consumer confidence and demand and worrying this close to Christmas.”

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