High street retailers battle through worst February in a decade

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February high street
// February high street sales down 3.7% year-on-year
// Decline occurred despite unseasonably warm weather and Valentine’s Day
// Compares to February 2016 when high streets were battered by the Beast from the East

High street retailers endured their worst February in a decade despite the unseasonably warm weather and Valentine’s Day, according to new data.

The latest High Street Sales Tracker from accounting firm BDO shows a 3.7 per cent decline in bricks-and-mortar retail sales last month compared to the same period last year, when high streets were battered by the “Beast from the East” snow storm.

The declines marked the worst February figures for store sales since 2009, and indicated that Valentine’s Day, the half-term holiday and unseasonably warm temperatures failed to boost sales this year.

“Consumer confidence is teetering on the precipice and shoppers are resisting unnecessary spending,” BDO head of retail Sophie Michael said.

“Lifestyle, a category that would normally see a lift thanks to Valentine’s Day, suffered the worst monthly result since 2008. It’s clear that shoppers are exercising extreme caution.

“It has been a tough start to the year for the sector and retailers are continuing to fill headlines with poor performances.

“Brexit uncertainty is proving to have a disproportionate impact on discretionary spending and there’s an increasing sense of nervousness among retailers.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This article is an absurd and alarmist interpretation of the figures.
    1) It assumes high street retailers have no online operations;
    2) The period covers up to 24 February. The Beast from the East effect came in right at the end of the month, after this period, so the figures DO NOT COMPARE with last year’s coldest weather;
    3) Overall sales across online and high street are UP on last year, so overall it is nowhere near the worst February in a decade.
    This is all part of a catastrophist agenda that wants to paint the economy in the worst possible light. Meanwhile, the property market has accelerated and car sales are up year-on-year.

  2. Three Words:
    PARKING; Greedy Councils.

    The high street circle of doom:
    high parking charges; shop closures; fewer rates for greedy councils; less variety and experience for shopper; higher parking charges.; circle round again.

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