Shoppers stayed away from the high street in their droves last month as the impact of the rainy weather combined with general economic worries, according to figures released today.
Accountancy firm BDO’s July high street sales tracker shows like-for-like sales at “mid-tier” retailers were down by 2.9 per cent year-on-year – the sharpest fall in since last October.
While better weather towards the end of the month brought some cheer to retailers, concerns over the rising cost of living combined with low wage inflation weighed hard on consumers’ pockets, BDO said.
Fashion stores saw sales slide 2.6 per cent year-on-year, due in part to retailers struggling to ensure seasonal lines were in synch with unpredictable weather. Non-fashion sales fell 1.5 per cent.
Retailers specialising in homewares racked up the biggest decline, with a drop of 13 per cent on the same period last year. A combination of slow garden furniture sales due to the poor weather and reluctance among consumers to splash out on “big ticket” items hit the sector hard.
Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “With consumers increasingly value-conscious it is still a challenging climate for retailers, and the rain in early July did not help.”
Official figures last month revealed that June retail sales volumes had fallen, against City expectations for a modest rise.
Analysts said many big names were likely to keep slashing prices and running sales promotions in an effort to win custom, even when better weather materialised.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North east