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Summer brightens up retail


Like-for-like (LFL) sales at medium-sized retailers on the high street grew by an average of 4.3 per cent throughout June, July and August, according to the latest research from accountants and business advisory group BDO.

The figures indicate a “dramatic turnaround” from last summer, when the average growth for the same three-month period was -1.6 per cent.

BDO said that 2010’s summer sales results were the best for five years, with average growth for the season having been negative every year except one since 2006.

In August alone, LFL trading was up 3.6 per cent, with fashion sales increasing 2.8 per cent, homeware growing 4.5 per cent and the non-fashion sector experiencing growth of 5.3 per cent.

Online sales expanded by a healthy 32.8 per cent year-on-year, which is in line with what many of the UK’s retailers have been reporting since the turn of the year.

Don Williams, Head of Retail at BDO, commented: “Naturally, we remain cautious given the uncertain economic outlook and the expected cuts in public spending.

“However, current trading on the high street is still relatively strong, with the pessimism from some quarters overdone.”

There are a plethora of retailers - including Argos’s parent company Home Retail Group, entertainment retailer HMV and chocolatier Thorntons - set to reveal financial results this week.

It will be interesting to see exactly how optimistic these high street companies feel as the VAT increase draws closer and the government’s austerity measures start to take effect.

Published on Monday 06 September by Editorial Assistant

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