High street sales faltered again last month as physical retailers battled against the growth in online shopping.
On a like-for-like basis, sales fell by 1.3 per cent on the high street in May as compared to the same month the year before, according to figures from BDO.
The fashion sector was one of the hardest hit, with sales down 3.6 per cent year-on-year. BDO said the fashion industry has now been in a "downward spiral" for four years.
There was, however, some good news: sales of lifestyle goods grew 3.9 per cent, the sixth consecutive month of growth for the sector.
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: "Prolonged blanket discounting is not sustainable but shoppers need incentives to make the purchase. So it appears that most retailers have chosen to run targeted, short-term discounting in an attempt to ignite spending and protect further erosion to margins."
However, she said retailers need to make sure they are selling good products, and that consumers are still enjoying shopping on the high street. Increasingly, shoppers need a reason to move beyond their laptop screens to buy goods.
Research from Retail Economics released today found that nearly half (43 per cent) of shoppers would spend more money in a store if they were given a "meaningful shopping experience" by a retailer.
Nearly two-thirds of people are more likely to shop somewhere that has a cafe, restaurant or bar, the research showed.
Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics, said: "UK retail is undergoing significant structural change. A behavioural revolution is taking place through a transformational shift in what people value most — experiences.
"Retailers’ abilities to predict, analyse and adapt to forthcoming waves of these behavioural shifts will stand as the differentiating factor from their competitors."