High street sales battered by storms and coronavirus fears

High street sales battered by storms and coronavirus fears
"It's clear that shoppers are still exercising extreme caution," BDO's Sophie Michael says.
// February high street sales hurt by storms and the growing fears around the coronavirus
// Like-for-like sales in physical shops fell 0.9%, according to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker
// Online sales increased, although at a much slower rate than usual 6%

High street sales have taken a battering from storms and coronavirus fears over the past month, according to new data.

Like-for-like store sales slipped 0.9 per cent in February, BDO’s latest High Street Sales Tracker shows.

The survey blamed storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge – as well as global fears over the coronavirus outbreak – for the decline, after sales had picked up in previous months.


“Bad weather and concerning headlines contributed to an already difficult trading environment in February,” BDO head of retail Sophie Michael said.

“The poor performance in non-store sales contributed further to a disastrous month for retail across the board.”

Sales away from the high street increased at a slower level than previous months, with growth slowing to six per cent from 12.4 per cent in the same month last year.

On the high street, lifestyle sales slid by 2.9 per cent as the usually buoyant Valentine’s Day shopping spike failed to lift sales.

Sales of homewares also fell by 3.6 per cent for the month, in the first negative result for in-store homeware since August 2019.

Elsewhere, fashion sales saw a marginal improvement of 0.3 per cent in February.

“It’s clear that shoppers are still exercising extreme caution,” Michael said.

“While some of last year’s uncertainty dissipates, it seems it’s being replaced with increased volatility.

“As the news of the impact of coronavirus continues to spread, and Britain’s high streets take a hit from February’s extreme weather, many retailers will feel the impact of the higher costs needed to absorb the disruption within their supply chains.”

with PA Wires

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