Retailers have been struck by the worst summer since 2009 as bad weather, holidays and uncertainty over interest rates have kept shoppers away from the high street.
For the four weeks to July 26 year-on-year sales dropped 1.1%, the third consecutive month of falling sales, according to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker.
The fashion sector was hit hardest, down 1.4% year on year. It is thought that shoppers are opting to spend in restaurants and bars rather than with retailers.
Head of retail and wholesale at BDO Sophie Michael said: “The political landscape is still settling down after the election and speculation over interest rate rises is creating uncertainty in the minds of retailers and consumers. If this trend of falling sales continues into August, 2015 will go down as a very gloomy summer on the high street.”