The latest high street figures point toward a resurgence of Britain’s shopping streets as collect in-store services drove shoppers back to the high street.
Like-for-like sales rose 1.7 per cent in July compared to the same month last year as a prolonged spell of warm weather coupled with improved click and collect services from retailers such as Argos and John Lewis boosted business, the BDO monthly High Street sales tracker found.
Despite the good growth retail chains are continuing to close stores at a rapid rate with one report finding that chains shut an average of 20 shops a day in 2012. A report from Deloitte forecast that four out of 10 shops will have to shut in the next five years.
However, evidence for a more lean British high street is gathering pace as homewares and lifestyle retailers enjoyed the best sales increases, up 10.8 per cent and 5.5 per cent in July. But fashion sales fell 0.7 per cent as chains discounted clothing seasonally. Online sales surged 31.5 per cent.
If there is another year-on-year rise next month then it will be the first full six months of positive growth for four years.
Sophie Bevan, head of Retail & Wholesale at BDO LLP, commented: “The like-for-like data doesn’t tell the whole story. The bigger picture shows that retailers are holding their resolve and responding to the upturn on the high street – and are confident that shoppers are more willing to pay full price for the right products.”
Official figures found retail sales rose 3.6 per cent in June year-on-year and have shown the longest period of sustained growth since November 2007.