UK retail outlook uncertain, Brexit fears

The future of UK retail remains uncertain in the wake of the Brexit vote later this month. The fashion industry has seen a stagnant high street affected by slow sales of spring and early summer merchandise. The stark view came as the BDO High Street Sales Tracker for May recorded a 1.9 percent year-on-year dip in sales, blamed on uncertainty over the EU referendum and pressure on household budgets.

That comes a month after sales suffered the biggest drop since the height of the recession several years ago. Lifestyle sales, which includes the all-important fashion sector, were hit hard last month, down a hefty 2.4 percent, as disposable incomes were pared back.

The accountancy and business advisory firm said the overall retail performance meant its measure had shown negative growth every month since last October, with the exception of January.

High street in 'deep financial winter'

The report stated: “The beginning of June may have seen the first signs of summer in 2016, but figures released today show the UK high street is in the grip of a deep financial winter”.

It added that the numbers would have been worse had it not been for widespread promotional activity in the latter half of the month in a bid by retailers to increase footfall and shift surplus stock.

Sophie Michael, BDO’s head of retail and wholesale, said: “A fall in retail sales is often sparked by consumers choosing to spend their disposable income on things like eating out, but the evidence is that people are reducing spending across the board.

“Things have been tough for retailers since the end of last summer and there’s not much to suggest confidence will pick up soon.”

Image:High Street





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