Retailers hit by worst summer in half a decade

Kasmira Jefford
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THE UK high street is suffering its worst summer in six years, according to BDO’s latest high street sales tracker, which revealed three consecutive months of falling sales.

Mid-market retailers saw sales drop by 1.1 per cent year-on-year in July, the fashion sector taking the biggest hit with a decline of 1.4 per cent.

Lifestyle goods were down 0.5 per cent year-on-year, while homewares recorded a 1.1 per cent like-for-like decline in July.

The accountancy firm said that while not as severe as June’s two per cent drop, it still marks the first time the months of May, June and July have all recorded negative growth since 2009.

BDO’s head of retail and wholesale Sophie Michael said retailers were “losing out” to bars and restaurants in the battle for consumers’ wallets, while tough comparatives against last year, when the weather was particularly good, was also partly to blame.

“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,” she said. “If this trend… continues into August, 2015 will go down as a very gloomy summer on the high street,” she added.

The set of data is in contrast to the positive messages about the uplift in the economy, as retailers continue to find conditions on the high street challenging. The CBI distributive trades survey UK last week showed retailers expect sales volumes to weaken further in August.

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