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Retail heading for 'worst year on record'

This year could go down as “the worst year on record” for high street retailers, according to the latest monthly figures from BDO.

Monthly figures showed fashion like-for-likes had fallen by 2.3% in the four weeks to 24 June, from a base of +1.4% in 2017.

The monthly sales tracker report noted that two years on from the EU referendum total like-for-like sales across retail had fallen by 1.7%, with fashion sales failing to report growth of more than 1% in any of the past nine months.

June was topped-and-tailed by declines in excess of 7% in weeks one and four. The poor results effectively ended any hope of an overall in-store increase for fashion during the month.

Despite these poor figures, fashion sales for the week between 24 June and 1 July, which are not included in the monthly BDO figures, were encouraging. The weekly high street sales tracker noted that the week to 1 July had seen sales rise by 5.62%.

The BDO said: “2018 to-date has proven to be an exceptionally tough year for the high street at the half way mark. In the twenty four months that have followed the EU referendum, in-store sales have exceeded growth of 1% in just five of those months.

”The consumer transition to online purchasing is certainly a part of that story, but the first half of 2018 has also seen prolonged periods of suppressed sales across all channels.

”Critically, the significant percentage of revenue that the high street still generates in-store should also ensure that retail and business rates remain at the top of the agenda for policy makers twelve months on from the last UK election.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • I really don't see much point in surveys from BDO as it just gives somebody something to do in stating the obvious.

    Footfall will continue too fall and fall and fall as the vast majority of Millennials favour the Internet over the High Street and will continue to do so.

    Can I have my £5K now please?

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  • Surely store closures also bias these figures as well as acting as catalysts for online shopping. For example, if your preferred brand closes its store, you may be tempted to go online to buy (if its still in business) if you still like their brand.

    Closures don’t mean all customers won’t care. It’s also a pending backlash that M&S has yet to consider into their closure programme. They will actually disgruntle many loyal customers and give them reason to shop elsewhere.

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