By Daniel Hunter
The UK’s high streets are weathering both the economic and meteorological storms lashing the country, according to the latest sales figures.
BDO’s June High Street Sales Tracker shows like-for-like sales at mid-tier retailers are up 1.1% year-on-year.
Non-fashion sales jumped 4.2% year-on-year in June, with the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend sparking an upsurge in luxury goods spending as spirits were lifted by the national air of celebration over the four day weekend.
Fashion sales held steady (up 0.5% year-on-year) despite the unseasonal weather hitting demand for summer lines, with retailers retaining the equilibrium through continued discounting.
The only dip was in homewares sales, which plunged 5.8% compared to the same period last year.
“The continuing stream of bad news including the Euro crisis is continuing to put a serious dent in consumer confidence and this is resulting in consumers putting off investment in ‘big ticket’ homeware purchases,” Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP said.
However, while the uncertainty both at home and in Europe will continue to put downward pressure on regular consumer spending sprees for the foreseeable future, the hope for many is that the London 2012 Olympics will provide enough of a spark to create an upturn in spending that will offset the negatives brought on by the poor weather and gloomy macro-economic trends.
“The high street is holding steady from a sales perspective, and that’s no mean feat given the various headwinds that are faced by retailers and consumers alike” said Williams.
“Shoppers are very cautious at the moment and they need incentives to buy. But give them a reason to be cheerful and an extra day or two in which to go shopping and they will still spend.
“The hard task for retailers is to find ways of encouraging people to spend money with them rather than their rivals and this comes down to offering them what they want, new products and value underpinned by superior service.”
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