RETAIL UPDATE: Reality check for retailers

BDO tracker shows total sales fall by 1.5 per cent for week ending May 17th.
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Total sales fell by 1.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis for the week ending May 17th, according to BDO Stoy Hayward's High Street Sales Tracker.

Despite the fall, it was another strong week for the majority of non fashion stores, driven by solid demand for luxury, gifting and some outdoor related goods. The only real negative area was health and beauty, where demand lagged.

Homewares fell 15.6 per cent, with most areas suffering, while the fashion sector was down 2.5 per cent, reporting lower sales for the second week in a row.

However, non-store sales were again buoyant - up 56.9 per cent - helped by strong demand for clothing, footwear and accessories. In other areas, sales were lower but still positive, with outdoor specialists doing well.

"High profile discounting by some large department stores probably accounted for some of this lost trade, while strong prior year comparisons also dragged down results," said Rupert Eastell, head of retail at BDO Stoy Hayward. "However, there is a sense that consumers are continuing to cut back in some areas as unemployment concerns increase."


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