Sunshine brings shoppers back to UK high street

Thursday, 07 June 2012
After the April washout, the sunshine has allowed the high street to continue its slow recovery. The latest figures from the BDO High Street Sales Tracker show mid-tier retailers’ like-for-like sales up 1.3% year-on-year. Retailers saw growth in all areas as the weather brought a feel good factor to the high street. Once the weather improved in the middle of May, fashion sales grew, ending 1.2% ahead of last year’s monthly figure.

As well as the general good mood brought about by a combination of sunshine and the excitement surrounding the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the growth reflected evidence of pent-up demand for summer clothing.

Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said retailers have had to learn to draw in shoppers through a constant drip of promotions.

“Once again we’ve seen promotional activity play a lead role in stimulating demand” he said. “For the best this is carefully planned, not knee jerk, broad and deep discounting. Clearly it will eat into margins, but retailers know promotions now tend to lead demand at least as much as seasonal buying patterns.”

Williams also warned against relying on a summer sales bonanza.

“Although the sunshine, Diamond Jubilee and Olympics will undoubtedly spark a feelgood factor, this is bound to be dampened by the continued economic uncertainty both here and abroad. In this type of environment, people will stick to what they know and that means trusted brands and attractive promotions.”

Image: London sunshine