High street suffers washout June

Britain’s high streets suffered a washout June as miserable weather and falling consumer confidence created a perfect storm for retailers.

Store sales fell by 0.8% off last June’s already weak benchmark of a 1.7% drop as early summer sale discounting failed to salvage a month marked by slowed waged and falling confidence, Bod’s High Street Sales Tracker shows.

The poor figures mark 16 out of 17 consecutive months of no in-store sales growth.

As discretionary spending continues to slow, lifestyle sales performed especially poorly, falling 3.5% in June from a 0.3% fall last year.

The weather led to flat fashion sales, with retailers unable to improve on last year’s 2.3% drop despite starting summer sales early.

Homeware was the lone bright spot with a 5.6% increase in sales, although also off a 2.4% fall last June.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “June was another washout month for the high street. We saw retailers discount early on in June, adding further pressure to tight margins, yet they still weren’t able to salvage the month.

“Retailers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They want to invest and adapt but they don’t have the funds or confidence to do so. At the same time, shoppers are holding back as consumer confidence falls and discretionary spend slips away.”

BDO’s figures come a week after the long-running GfK consumer confidence index fell three points to minus 13, a score seen five times already this year.

GfK said the slip came amid concerns about personal finances and caution around big ticket spending, pointing to a “turbulent” summer for retailers.