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UK retailers fail to lift sales despite higher footfall

Despite a positive footfall level for March, UK retailers failed to grow sales.

According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker (HSST), UK retailers have failed to grow sales for the fourth month in a row, with like-for-like sales flat (0 percent) in March despite warmer weather and Mother’s day seeing footfall up three out of four weeks on March 2016, peaking at +5.2 percent in week four*.

The lifestyle and homeware sectors grew, with Mother’s Day acting as the main growth.

The lifestyle sector grew 1.4 percent year-on-year, and homewares grew 1.8 percent year-on-year.

Year-on-year fashion sales dropped -0.8 percent in March from -2.5 percent in the same period last year.

However, the sector actually performed better than previous months.

Online sales were up by 28.1 percent, the highest monthly result since Jan 2015

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP, said: “March 2017 is the fourth month in a row to see no growth on the high street despite a notable rise in footfall. The new season should have triggered high street spending, and retailers will be questioning why they have been unable to convert shoppers into buyers.

“As inflation is beginning to be felt against a backdrop of economic uncertainties, it is ever more important that  retailers focus on product, quality and range.

“With a tightening consumer purse, shoppers will become increasingly choosy about how they spend their pound. Retailers have clearly got a challenge ahead of them and will have to go the extra mile to differentiate their products and stores.”

*Footfall figures from Springboard

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