Belfast Telegraph

High street feels heat after poor July

Many shoppers stayed at home and went online for their summer wardrobe fix (PA)
Many shoppers stayed at home and went online for their summer wardrobe fix (PA)

By Henry Saker-Clark

The high street suffered a bleak July as soaring temperatures failed to boost sales, while online retailers saw their strongest growth for 18 months.

According to BDO's High Street Sales Tracker for the month, many shoppers stayed at home and went online for their summer wardrobe fix.

The tracker reported like-for-like sales in high street shops were subdued, rising 0.1%, putting increased pressure on embattled retailers.

The monthly figures failed to provide a desired boost, BDO said, following a "tough first half of the year".

In-store lifestyle sales suffered the worst July on record, as sales decreased by 3%, adding to decline from the previous year.

It was a more positive period for fashion stores, which saw sales rise by 1.2% in July, while the homeware category rebounded with 5.8% year-on-year growth during the month.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: "2019 is proving to be a year to forget for the great British high street.

"Discounting has been relentless this summer. July's flat sales figures will not only be disappointing for retailers but will also add further pressure to margins that are already being squeezed to the extreme."

While the results were bleak for the high street, online retailers were buoyed by hot weather as shoppers refreshed their summer wardrobes.

Non-store sales rose by 20.5% for the month, representing the strongest figures for the category since December 2017.

Belfast Telegraph

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