By Daniel Hunter
After months of flat or negative growth, the high street is finally showing signs of a recovery.
Figures released in BDO’s September High Street Sales Tracker show the best growth all year as like-for-like sales rose 3.5% in September.
The fierce storms that lashed the country at the end of last month sparked a rush for winter clothing, pushing fashion up 3% year-on-year. This was a marked turnaround from the 5.1% drop in like-for-like growth this time last year following 2011’s late heatwave.
Non-fashion grew by 7% year-on-year, buoyed by strong performances in gifting and leisure, beauty and luxury sales. Non-store sales recovered from an “Olympic lull”, growing by a third (32.5%) with the majority of retailers seeing double-digit growth.
The only category to miss out on the spending bonanza was homewares, which dipped by 5.3% year-on-year as the housing market continued to struggle.
“These figures are being compared against a relatively weak 2011, but the predicted Olympic afterglow seems to have helped boost sales everywhere apart from home-wares. The autumnal weather has certainly provided a welcome fillip for fashion sales too," Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said.
“Next month’s figures will give us a better idea of how strong the recovery is, but we expect growth to remain positive in the run up to Christmas.”
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