High Street sales continue to be weak

| July 15, 2008 | 0 Comments

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have shown only a slight sales growth on the High Street in May.

Changeable weather and a cutback in consumer spending meant shoppers stayed away last month with like-for-like retail sales falling 0.4%, compared with the same period last year.

According to the BRC, food sales were up slightly while the only sector to show considerable growth was food and drink.

The worst performers were clothing and footwear while furniture and homewares fell further below the previous year’s levels. However, childrenswear outperformed menswear and womenswear, according to the figures.

Sales of furniture, flooring and homewares were significantly below levels of the previous year, however computer games and console sales performed well.

The figures show that more was spent on necessities rather than discretionary spending.

Commenting on the figures, Helen Dickinson, head of retailing at KPMG, said it continues to be a challenging time for retailers, particularly as consumers tighten their purse strings.

Despite the fall in the High Street, fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has bucked the trend with announcing it has beaten June sales expectations, reporting an 8% overall gain.

Analysts had feared that the Swedish clothing retailer would be affected by the retail downturn.

H&M’s total sales were up 25% in May from the previous year, while like-for-likesales were ahead 14%.

Meanwhile, Burberry, the luxury fashion house, has defied the credit crunch and said sales continue to increase. The brand, which is renowned for its check designs said sales continue to rise, but the speed of growth has slowed.

In the 3 months to 30 June, sales in stores rose at 4.5%, compared to a 6% increase the previous six months.

Furthermore, Irish-based fashion chain Primark, which is owned by Associated British Foods, announced last week that sales were up 14% in the third quarter.

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