The unexpected heatwave turned the pressure on fashion retailers last month, prompting the second worst set of sales figures for the whole of 2016, according to BDO’s September high street sales tracker.
The hottest September in 105 years presented fresh challenges to retailers attempting to shift full-price autumn and winter ranges as sales fell by 5.9% on last year.
The month started with a weekly fall of 5.5% but as temperatures soared past 34°C, sales dropped by 8.4% in the third week compared to 2016 and by 8.1% in the final week, the tracker said. The BDO high street sales tracker monitors in-store sales from mid-market retailers including French Connection, White Stuff, Oasis, Karen Millen, Coast, Hobbs and TM Lewin.
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at accountancy firm BDO, said retailers that had adapted supply chains to react more flexibly to unseasonal weather were better positioned to cope with the spiralling temperatures.
“And it’s not just the temperature that is in flux, in order to maintain a strong performance retailers should ensure that they are attuned to the changing demands of consumers and navigating future challenges presented by Brexit,” she said.
“Those that can remain flexible, and adapt quickly, will not only stand the best chance of success but will also be well placed to grab the opportunities that will no doubt present themselves in these uncertain times.”