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Retail sales plummet as soaring temperatures make it ‘too hot to shop’

PUBLISHED: 08:46 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:32 06 July 2018

People enjoying the sunshine at Thorpe Green. Temperatures rocketed into the high 20s in the final week of June. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

People enjoying the sunshine at Thorpe Green. Temperatures rocketed into the high 20s in the final week of June. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Weather “too hot to shop” in led to disappointing retail sales figures in June.

A 5.4% year-on-year drop in sales in the final week of the month as temperatures nudged 30 degrees capped a “crippling” half year for the high street.

The BDO high street sales tracker showed sales were down 1.7% in June compared with a year earlier – marking the first time in more than a decade that in-store growth failed to exceed 1% in a single month for the first half of a calendar year.

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June sales of lifestyle goods were down 0.3%, fashion fell 2.3% and homewares were down 2.4%, while non-store sales grew by just 10.4% – the lowest year-on-year increase since December 2015 – as retailers struggled to cope with declining consumer confidence.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “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.”

She added: “People have simply reined in their spending, online and in store, and extreme weather of snow in March and heatwaves in June has only exacerbated this trend.

“It will take a monumental change in fortunes on the high street to turn 2018 into anything other than an annus horribilis.”


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