The recent heatwave and high profile sports events have “distracted” customers from hitting the shops during July, according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker.
Andy Murray’s success in Wimbledon, as well the Lions Rugby tour and the Ashes kept consumers occupied and away from shops, while the weather tempted people into the parks, the monthly report said.
Fashion sales were down 1.1% for the four weeks to July 28, and came on the back of a 2.6% decline for the same month in 2012, when much of the country was focused on the London Olympics.
The second week of the month (to July 14) was the worst for fashion, with retailers reporting a 4.9% decline. Only the week ending July 28 saw the sector make any real growth, with sales up 3.4%.
Visa Europe has also reported a sales drop for fashion, down 2.4% throughout the month.
Conversely non-fashion retailers saw a 3.5% increase in sales for the month. Across all retail sectors, sales were flat compared with a 2.9% drop last year.
BDO noted that it was a “mixed month” with big name sports events and “weather in the extremes” having a negative impact on the sector.
The analyst firm said: “We saw polarising results within the fashion index this month with the warm weather having a mixed effect on demand. Those retailers with enough flexibility in their supply chains to ensure their product offering maintained appropriateness for the conditions performed strongly, whilst those with less flexibility struggled.”
It chimes with some of the concerns reported on by Drapers last week, with retailers describing spring 13 as a “car crash”, with the weather turning from unseasonably cold to sweltering almost overnight.