BDO: February figures point to growth

Mid-size High Street retailers performing well and consumer demand is growing, says firm.
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Figures from the BDO High Street Sales Tracker for February saw overall like for like sales up by just over nine per cent on last year.

Assisted by weak figures last year, fashion sales saw record results (like for likes up 10.7 per cent) as demand for winter clothing soared. Seasonal clothing ranges sold well, as did footwear, and many stores discounted less than last year.

Sales through non-store channels also shot up by almost half (46.1 per cent), possibly due to bad weather discouraging some shoppers from venturing to the High Street.

Sales of home-related products also rose strongly (8.7 per cent), while non fashion like for likes were up by 5.7 per cent, although trade during the run up to Valentine's Day proved to be a little disappointing.

"These encouraging results show that the supposed 'big fall' is not manifesting itself on the High Street," said Don Williams, head of retail at BDO. "Retailers, particularly in the fashion market, have done well not to scare their customers off by not taking risks with their ranges and picking items that people really want to buy.

"Consumer demand should grow in the short-term, but the market has not recovered completely and the gains we have seen are relative to very weak comparisons with last year.

"We expect that the second half of the year will be more of a struggle for the sector, so retailers must focus on excelling in customer service to make sure people continue to spend money on the High Street."

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