Sales across UK high streets in August slumped to the lowest level since November 2008 with sales tumbling 4.3% compared with last year, according to BDO.
Wet weather was blamed as shoppers stayed away from the high street or went on foreign holidays spurred on by the strong pound.
Fashion sales fell 5.5% in August as summer Sales were earlier this year and shoppers had yet to buy into autumn collections. However BDO said cooler temperatures last week saw an uptick in the sale of new season stock.
Homewares were down 3.3% and lifestyle goods also dropped 1.3% for the month. Online sales fell to their lowest rate of growth since BDO began its poll eight years ago, up 11.5%.
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “While Brits are better off and confidence is increasing, the high street is missing out on the spoils while consumers spend money on bigger treats like holidays abroad. The strong pound during August also meant that shoppers were taking advantage of the exchange rate by buying goods abroad, while international tourists were less willing to spend.
“With the holiday season over and the summer weather starting to fade, retailers will be hoping this is the start of a shopping spree that sees them into the autumn season and beyond.”