British high street losing customers

This summer has been the UK high street's worst for the last six years

British high street losing customers

We may have had the hottest July on record but it hasn't been so sunny for the UK's retail industry.

Figures from accountants BDO show that the UK high street has suffered its worst summer for the last six years with underlying sales slipping by 1.1% in July.

The BDO High Street Sales Tracker is used to review the weekly sales of more than 70 retailers and 10,000 individual stores.

According to the sales tracker, British consumers are still hesitant about spending which isn't helped by the current uncertainty over interest rate rises.

Lifestyle brands saw the smallest decrease at -0.5% while fashion and homewares saw higher losses of -1.4% and -1.1% respectively.

According to the report, the fashion industry has specifically suffered at the hands of economic uncertainty. While there was also a drop in homewares, the figures were in comparison to a particularly strong month last year.

The monthly review for July also reported that footfall was down compared to the strong figures that were seen in July last year.

However this wasn't uniform across the whole country. Greater London recorded an increased footfall which is probably down to the consistent tourist trade enjoyed by the capital.

The Guardian reports that the restaurant industry and the ever-changing weather may be the cause of the slump.

Sophie Michael from BDO says: "Consumers remain cautious with regard to spending: the political landscape is still cooling after the election, and speculation over interest rate rises continues to create uncertainty."

The same figures next year may show drastically different results as councils relax their rules on Sunday trading hours.

Shops are currently only able to open for six hours on a Sunday but this could all change soon.

As we reported earlier in the week, the government claims that new rules extending trading by just two hours could created nearly 3,000 extra jobs in London alone, generating more that £200 million in extra income each year.

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