UK High Street Takes Biggest Hit in April Since 2008

Posted on 6 May, 2016 by Chris Grigorovsky

As long standing retailers BHS and Austin Reed entered into administration, the UK high street experienced its worst month since November 2008, according to BDO.

Retail Performance

High street retailers recorded a 6.1% fall year-on-year in April, with the fashion sector seeing a 9.2% drop on last year.

Sales for lifestyle goods grew by 16.4%, while the homeware sector was up by 17.8%. This is being attributed to the unpredictable weather by head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP, Sophie Michael, as shoppers did not need spring and summer clothing during this period.

Another major contributor is the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Brexit, which is causing shoppers and investors to hold back.

Ms Michael said that retailers will feel disheartened and that “everything is against them”, however, she says that retailers “need to be confident in their product offer, hold their nerve as the weather warms up and be selective and strategic about promotions.”

Concluding: “Operating margins have already been squeezed this year through additional costs such as the National Living Wage and the adverse impact of a weak pound, and heavy discounting will only erode margins further.”

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