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Swine flu hits high street sales

High street fashion sales fell 8% over the week ended July 19 as uncertainty about the economy and fears about swine flu hit sales.

According to accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward, total high street sales fell by 4.1% on a like-for-like basis.

Fashion sales on the high street were particularly lacklustre due to a slow early reaction to new full-priced autumn lines.

Don Williams, retail partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, said: “Overall sales were in negative territory for a fourth consecutive week, as continued uncertainty about the economy and fears over swine flu played on the minds of consumers. Trade via non-store channels were also relatively weak as the transition from summer clearance to full-priced stock failed to stimulate significant new demand.”

“Hopefully, the seasonal boost from the start of the school summer holidays will help supplement this positive movement.”

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