High street sales struggled for the seventh month in a row in August

Helen Cahill
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Warm Weather Helps High Street Sales To Rise
The worst week in August was the last (Source: Getty)

High street retailers haven't managed to increase sales since the beginning of the year, according to data released today.

Sales fell by 1.5 per cent year-on-year in August, which is the seventh month in a row of no growth for the sector, according to accountants BDO.

Consumer confidence has bounced back somewhat since its immediate trough following the Brexit vote, but the high street has not managed to reap the rewards. August was one of the worst months for the high street since November 2008, BDO said.

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Homeware sales bucked the overall trend and performed well, with sales up by 11.3 per cent year-on-year. Lifestyle products sold better than most, up 0.7 per cent year-on-year.

The fashion sector continued to struggle on the high street; sales were down by 3.3 per cent, despite retailers offering heavy discounts to lure shoppers away from the summer sun.

The final week of August was the worst for fashion retailers, with sales falling 9.6 per cent.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: "Footfall was up for most of August, but the majority of retailers struggled to consistently translate recent positive consumer sentiment and increased spending levels into in-stores sales."

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Many retailers would have struggled to take advantage of the bank holiday weekend, however, as footfall fell dramatically.

According to figures from footfall analysts Springboard, footfall fell by 3.3 per cent over the bank holiday as compared to last year. Springboard measured footfall on high streets over both the Saturday and the Sunday.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: "Part of this drop will be due to the rain in some parts of the country, but certainly not all of it as rainy summer days are a long term characteristic in the UK."

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Footfall did get better after 5pm, however, when it was also raining. Wehrle said this "highlights the growing demand for leisure activities – hospitality, food and beverage trips".

She added: "The other trend this seems to support is a lessening importance of bank holidays as shopping days, a result Springboard has seen over the last couple of years and follows on from dips in footfall recorded in Easter and on Boxing Day 2015."

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