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Published
May 6, 2016
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UK high street sales in April worst since 2009

Published
May 6, 2016

April was a very bad month for the UK high street, as like-for-like sales declined by 6.1%, according to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker. This is the biggest decline seen since February 2009, when LFL sales were down 8.1% and the country was in the middle of a global economic crisis.


Retailers had been hoping for a significant post Easter sales boom which didn't emerge, as shoppers avoided the high street and retail spending in general. Fashion sales continued to underperform and fell 9.20% in the month, the worst decline since February 2009. Throughout the month, fashion like-for-like sales remained negative and in the last two weeks of the month they spiralled into a "significant" decline, as seasonal discounting ended.

However, online sales did well in the month, as customers continue to choose to shop online. They were up 16.40% in April.

The end of the month saw high street stalwarts Bhs and Austin Reed enter administration, citing challenging market conditions. According to Jon Copestake, chief retail analyst at Economist Intelligence Unit, the last year has seen the highest reported number of profit warnings amongst UK retailers since the economic crisis.

Retailers remain hopeful, though, with 117 retailers surveyed by the CBI in April 2016 stating that they expected sales to be stronger in May, with a balance of 9%. However, this is still well below the long-term average of 24%.
 

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