High Street posts worst sales for two years

| September 5, 2011 | 1 Comment

Accountancy firm BDO has warned Britain’s retailers should prepare themselves for some tough times as pressure builds on consumers in the run-up to Christmas.

According to the firm’s High Street Sales Tracker, sales figures for August fell 2.2% among mid-market retailers, attributed to the riots and cooler weather during the month.

The riots, in particular, caused widespread disruption to many High Street retailers as they were forced to close earlier than usual and consumers were deterred from visiting the shops.

The British Retail Consortium will tomorrow publish its sales survey for August and sales are expected to be weak.

Trading updates from Next, JD Wetherspoon, Costa Coffee parent Whitbread, Carpetright, Home Retail Group, B&Q parent Kingfisher and Primark parent Associated British Foods are all due in the next two weeks and analysts will be looking for signs of trouble on the High Street.

Several retailers are under severe financial strain as the face their quarterly rent deadline at the end of this month.

Clinton Cards is understood to be suffering and the company has allegedly spoken to landlords asking for more time to meet its quarterly rent commitments.

Earlier this year, the rent deadlines at the end of March and June resulted in a series of retailers entering administration including Focus DIY, Habitat, TJ Hughes and fashion chain Jane Norman.

According to accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, in the second quarter of 2011, 375 retailers call in administrators – a rise of 9% on the same period a year earlier.

Meanwhile, commenting on its report, Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “Ever since the recession hit, smart retailers have been working flat out to keep consumers spending in an extremely tough trading environment. But the scale and ferocity of the disruption we saw in August was a real body blow.”

Mr Williams believes the pressure on consumer confidence is yet to ease and sales are unlikely to see a significant increase in the medium-term.

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  1. Julian Cassell says:

    Okay, so there’s a lot of doom and gloom out there, but following the failure of some of the companies in the DIY sector, maybe it is a case that there were simply too many out there?

    The DIY trade will always be around, and I for one see this time as a good opportunity for these outlets to streamline their product ranges and get rid of the ‘rubbish’ and concentrate on good value for money - Shelves piled high with cheap, and in my mind, products that may not be entirely fit for purpose may make money but I really think we need to be moving back towards greater quality and less quantity.



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