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UK high street heading for “worst year on record”


UK high street heading for “worst year on record”

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

9 Jul 2018

2018 might be the year that the UK high street is forgotten about states accountancy and business advisory firm BDO, as new figures suggest that it could be the “worst year on record” for retailers.

Monthly figures for June showed that UK high street sales declined 1.7 percent year-on-year, marking the first time in at least 12 years that in-store growth has failed to exceed 1 percent in a single month for the first half of a calendar year.

BDO added that fashion like-for-likes had also fallen by 2.3 percent in the four weeks to June 24, from a base of +1.4 percent in 2017. While non-store sales grew by just 10.4 percent, the lowest year-on-year increase since December 2015 as retailers struggled to cope with further declines in consumer confidence.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP, said in a press release: “The bleak and crippling start to the year shows no sign of abating, with deep discounting set to eat into 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.

These numbers confirm what many retailers have already suspected – this has been the worst first half of a calendar year for more than a decade.”