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High Street Enjoys Upbeat Autumn

The tentative recovery in high street spending strengthened during October, with mid-market retailers reporting a solid (+2.1 per cent) upturn in like-for-like sales, according to the latest edition of the BDO High Street Sales Tracker.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

High Street Enjoys Upbeat Autumn

Reports of improving sales were widespread on the back of stronger core footfall levels. Big gains were made in a number of non-fashion categories, while homeware trade improved significantly during the second half of the month. Demand for winter clothing was held back by the unseasonably warm weather, but fashion sales still rose modestly.

Although these results were enhanced by the soft prior year comparisons, they are still broadly encouraging. With extremely weak comparisons between now and Christmas, sales should remain positive in both November and December.

Don Williams, head of Retail, BDO LLP commented: "A second consecutive month of positive like-for-likes is a heartening development for retailers. However, these results should be taken in the context of how far sales have fallen over the last year.

On the whole I am positive that retailers will enjoy a better Christmas than last year, helped by the fact that shoppers will be trying to avoid January’s VAT rise.  Post-Christmas, we expect the new year will continue to be challenging for retailers."

Fashion:+1.6% Fashion retailers saw takings increase for the first time since April, with like-for-likes up 1.6 per cent.  Despite this increase, there was plenty of evidence to suggest a soft underlying demand, as consumers showed reluctance to purchase higher ticket winter items given the unseasonably warm weather.

Non-Fashion:+5.0% Another strong month was reported by non-fashion retailers, as like-for-likes rose 5.0 per cent. Big gains were made in most categories, with luxury and gifting posting the strongest results.

Homewares:-1.3% Although demand increased during the second half of the month, particularly for  furniture and textiles, weak demand in the first half of the month meant that homeware like-for-likes decreased by 1.3 per cent overall.

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