High street fashion sales took a hit last week but online sales soared as heavy and unpredictable snowfall kept shoppers at home.
Sales figures from BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker for the week ending 10 January, showed that in-store fashion sales were down 12.6% on a like-for-like basis, compared to the same week last year.
Improved sales of cold-weather clothing, such as outerwear and boots, were offset by a drop in footfall.
Retailers with stores in major city centres, where transport networks were less disrupted, were not hit as badly.
Overall retail sales fell 12.9%.
Online sales over the period were up 37.6% for the retail sector as a whole, as snowed-in shoppers turned to internet channels to make their purchases.
However, growth rates were down compared to recent weeks.
BDO said this is likely to be a result of shoppers worrying about delivery problems.
Don Williams, BDO head of retail said: “After an almost unanimous report of increase in trade over Christmas, the severely cold weather conditions seriously undermined high street trading, with all sectors suffering from lower footfall.
“However, with the weather now starting to ease, and more crucially, transport resuming normal operations, there are signs that stores will in the coming weeks pick up some, but by no means all, of the trade lost. We still expect 2010 to be a challenging year for the retailer, particularly in the second half where tax increases and public spending cuts become a reality.”