Retailers look to Royal wedding & bank holidays to end high street woes

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April

The UK high street has suffered its seventh consecutive month of lacklustre growth in April, but retailers remain optimistic that the Royal wedding and bank holidays will provide a boost.

According to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker, high street sales dropped 3.8 per cent year-on-year last month.

Lifestyle, fashion and homeware were the worst performing sectors in April, dropping 3.7 per cent, 3.3 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively, with the latter seeing its worst performance in a decade.

Despite this marking the seventh-month in-a-row sales failed to grow by more than one per cent, not all sectors performed poorly.

Online fashion sales grew by 25.4 per cent compared to a year previously thanks to the month’s mini-heatwave, growing well above the online average of 16.4 per cent.

Following yet more uninspiring results, retailers will be looking ahead to May’s bank holidays and the royal wedding to boost sales and consumer confidence.

“After another set of poor results, it’s perhaps time for retailers to seek out emerging positive trends on which to reignite consumer spending,” BDO head of retail Sophie Michael said.

“There are some encouraging signs that could provide a much-needed spark to consumer confidence.

“We have real earnings growth coupled with a royal wedding and two bank holidays around the corner. Maybe with the right weather, the combination of these factors could be just the boost retailers have been hoping for.

“But retailers must find ways to turn the shopper feel-good factor into sales of full-price lines.

“Chances to protect margins are few and far between, so its vital stores steer shoppers away from the discount rail by providing an appealing product range and a distinctive shopping experience.”

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