Wet April weather hit fashion retailers as few shoppers braved the rain to buy new spring garments with sales falling 4.6% year on year.
The wider high street managed to weather the storm, however, and according to figures from the BDO High Street Sales Tracker like-for-like sales at mid-tier retailers dropped just 0.8% year-on-year as non-fashion sales rose 5.9%.
Online sales for the month grew, with sales up 29% year-on-year.
Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP, said the figures were “nowhere near as bad as some had suggested”.
He added: “The lead times for much of the high street, especially fashion, means many can’t react to unseasonal weather in the way that something like the grocery sector can. This combined with the continued pressure on disposable income meant that we weren’t expecting sales to grow.”
Williams also warned retailers not to let poor weather lead them to complacency.
He said: “Struggling retailers will find it all too easy to hide behind the rain but the sun coming out won’t reverse their fortunes if they aren’t working hard for every sale and making sure their online offer is as good as it can be.”