High street sales fell 1.1% in July
The high street is in the grip of its worst summer in six years according to figures released by BDO.
The firm’s monthly High Street Sales Tracker recorded a year-on-year drop in sales of 1.1% for July. This is the first time since 2009 that the months of May, June and July have all registered negative growth.
All sectors were hit by the downturn. On a like-for-like basis, sales of fashion declined by 1.4%, lifestyle goods by 0.5% and homewares by 1.1%.
The like-for-like fall is the fifth monthly dip of the year so far although it is not as severe as the 4% drop in March and the 2% decline in June.
BDO said high street shops appear to be losing out to bars and restaurants in the battle for consumers’ disposable income.
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said the like-for-like figures should be taken in the context of a strong July 2014, but warned that retailers are still being hindered by unpredictable market forces.
She added: “The political landscape is still settling down after the election and speculation over interest rate rises is creating uncertainty in the minds of retailers and consumers.
“Retailers have reduced or delayed discounting compared to last year to pick the right moment. But many have held off well into the holiday season, and the reduced footfall has eaten into sales.
“If this trend of falling sales continues into August, 2015 will go down as a very gloomy summer on the high street.”
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