The high street has experienced the worst first half to a year in more than a decade, as sales dropped for a fifth consecutive month.
According to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker, sales fell 1.7 per cent across the UK in June, marking the first time in 12 years that in-store growth had not come above one per cent for six months in a row.
This was largely due to a dismal first week in which sales dropped 6.47 per cent as torrential rain and localised flooding hit footfall hard in many areas.
Though this improved over the next two weeks, rising 2.65 per cent and 1.74 per cent respectively, it slid a by 5.38 per cent in the final week compared to a year earlier.
All three sectors saw a like-for-like sales decline, with lifestyle sales dropping 0.3 per cent throughout June, fashion dropping 2.3 per cent and homeware falling 2.4 per cent.
The only area to see growth was non-store sales, which jumped 10.9 per cent, but this still marked the lowest increase on record since December 2015.
“The bleak and crippling start to the year shows no sign of abating, with deep discounting set to eat into (profit) margins that are already being stretched paper-thin by poor sales and rising costs, including the much-discussed issue of unfair business rates on high street retailers,” BDO head of retail Sophie Michael said.