RETAIL UPDATE: Sales fall on High Street, despite Valentine's effect

Week ending February 15th sees like-for-like sales dip by 7.5 per cent says BDO Stoy Hayward.
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New sales figures released today from BDO Stoy Hayward's like-for-like club have shown that snow and flooding cancelled out any kind of positive impact Valentine's Day may have had.

Total sales fell by 7.5 per cent.

Non-fashion retailers did see takings grow by 3.2 per cent, largely on the back of late demand for Valentine's Day gifts. However, given that sales dropped by over eight per cent the previous week, the recovery was more modest than expected.

Gifts and confectionery were the strongest performing sectors, while sales of beauty and leisure goods were largely down on last year.

The vast majority of fashion retailers, meanwhile, had a bad week, with overall sales down by 10.6 per cent.

Homeware sales fell by 12 per cent, with wet weather for much of the week discouraging any activity.

Rupert Eastell, head of retail at BDO Stoy Hayward, said: "This week's results were generally disappointing, with sales largely failing to recover from the snow impact of last week. A shift in half term dates was also not helpful; while the usual mid-month lull in activity seems to have been more marked this month.

"As a result, fashion results remained down by double digit levels, while it was also a lacklustre week for homeware retailers. Although a late surge in demand for Valentine's gifts helped non-fashion retailers move back into positive territory, many stores still failed to recapture all of the lost trade from the previous week."

Eastell continued: "In 2008, Valentine's Day helped boost the performance of non-fashion retailers with sales growing by 8.1 per cent. Homewares also experienced a very good week, with takings up by 16.2 per cent, on the back of mild weather and some significant promotional activity. In contrast, fashion sales marginally declined."


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