Christmas brings a bit of cheer to the UK high street

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Recession wrapped up when it comes to the season to be jolly

October highstreet sales remained “steady” with Christmas also predicted to bring in some more money, a report has suggested.

According to BDO’s October High Street Sales Tracker, like-for-like sales rose 0.9 percent year-on-year.

The accountancy firm also identified non-fashion sales were up 5.2 percent, boosted by sales of outdoor gear such as wellies and waterproofs as shoppers braced themselves for winter during the early October storms.

However, there was bad news in the fashion sector, with the firm claiming like-for-like fashion sales were flat. It blamed the weak sales on a slump in high end womens’ wear as thrifty shoppers chose not to refresh wardrobes ahead of mid-season sales.

However, it pointed out that with stores like Next reporting strong sales, retailers were “not unduly worried”.

Non-store sales leapt 40.4 percent, which the company said signalled the highest level of growth for over a year.

Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said this showed how quickly retailers were adopting web and mobile channels. He said services such as click and collect drive footfall and in-store sales, and the advent of 4G would continue to increase people’s access to fast web browsing even further.

He added that as high streets across the UK prepare to turn on Christmas lights, retailers were quietly optimistic about the next few months.

“We’ve learned to live with austerity for five years, but consumers have shown they will not sacrifice Christmas. Now indicators are suggesting the economy will improve in 2013, this will hopefully feed into consumer confidence over the next two months,” he added.

The BDO High Street Sales Tracker analyses like-for-like spending at non-grocery retailers with annual sales of between £5 million and £500 million.


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