By Daniel Hunter
Despite a flurry of Olympic-prompted purchases, high street retailers have been unable to ape the success of Team GB during the London 2012 games.
Figures released today in BDO’s August High Street Sales Tracker show like-for-like sales at mid-tier retailers dipped by 0.5% last month.
Fashion sales were down 1.3% year-on-year, stunted by weather that was either too wet — or too hot — to encourage shoppers to spend. In addition, unpredictable promotions, skewed by the timing of the Olympics saw many stores holding promotions at different times that confused all but the most savvy bargain hunters.
Weak consumer confidence and a static housing market took their toll on homewares sales, which struggled for a second month running (down 8.7%).
The only sector to buck the downward trend was non-fashion. It saw a like-for-like rise of 3.1% - sparked mainly by shoppers’ desire to bag an Olympic souvenir or buy kit that would help them emulate Olympic heroes such as Sir Chris Hoy, Jess Ennis or Mo Farah.
“The ‘Olympic effect’ has been barely noticeable on the high street so far, but this should change once we get out of the August doldrums," Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said.
“As the afterglow kicks in, retailers may well see consumer confidence rise steadily and for this to feed through into high street sales.
“People are still buying from trusted brands, even without discounts, so it is important retailers stick to their guns, especially when it comes to promotions, rather than trying to steal a march on rivals through hastily-planned sales.”
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