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High street sales fall in February as shoppers refuse to pay full price

Sales on the UK high street stumbled in February after a strong start to the year, dropping 1.7% compared to 2015, according to BDO’s monthly tracker.

Chelmsford High Street by Ambernectar13 Flickr CC

Chelmsford High Street 

The BDO’s monthly high street sales tracker for last month reported the first fall in sales for the month of February since 2012.

Fashion retailers were worst hit, with sales falling 2.9% year-on-year.

The fall for February reflects a downward trend that has been building since the middle of January. While the overall picture for January was positive, up 1.4%, sales dropped off as soon as the January discounting season ended and retailers started to bring in full-price spring lines.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO said: “Low consumer confidence, a weak pound and the forthcoming introduction of the National Living Wage means retailers are facing an even more challenging period.

“Retailers have to find ways of enticing the customer back into store during full price periods through a rich product mix and the right customer experience. With traditional shopping periods of Easter, Mothers’ Day and the March Bank holiday falling earlier this year than in 2015, retailers have an opportunity to reverse the downward trend and build year-on-year sales in March,” she added.


Readers' comments (1)

  • Proof if proof were needed that the high street has been "warped" by the almost relentless promotional activity in the lead up to Christmas.
    Why would anybody want to pay full price any more??
    Unless the product is very special indeed or in very short supply.
    One only has to look at the product on offer in stores and on-line to see that there is very little to differentiate brands or retailers, and it may be time for a freshen up and the courage to try something new.

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