Consumers prepared to shop around for the best bargains and freak weather resulted in the worst Christmas trading on the high street since 2008, according to new report from accountancy firm BDO.
The BDO high street sales tracker, which monitors in-store sales from mid-market retailers including French Connection, White Stuff, Oasis, Karen Millen, Coast, Hobbs and TM Lewin, found that December year-on-year sales fell by 5.3% across the sector as a whole.
Third quarter fashion sales performed worse than the overall retail sector, falling by 5.4% on a like-for-like basis.
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “Many retailers had held out for a last minute sales Christmas rush that never arrived.”
“People have been much savvier about bargain hunting this year. After Black Friday, many shoppers seem to have sat tight and waited for the sales to start on 25 December.
”Early indications are that activity in January strengthened, so retailers will be hoping they can claw back some ground in the traditional January sales period, but it’s clear the overall picture is one of reduced spending.”