High Streets Initiative · 6 October 2017

UK high streets begin critical trading period with best September in five years

Salisbury,  UK - September 4th 2016: Tourists and shoppers are walking through Salisbury City centre on a Sunday afternoon. Some are sitting down enjoying refreshments and food at tables in the street.
Strong September sales marked an improvement from challenging Autumn months in recent years for retailers
Britain’s high street retailershave had the’strongest September since 2012, according to new sales figures, giving shop owners confidence ahead ofa critical trading period leading up to Christmas.

Researchreleased by business advisory firm BDO showed an overall like-for-like sales increase of 2.9 per cent in September the strongest growthin any month since April 2014. The figures arrived as somewhat of a surprise, with previous reportspredicting low footfall for the month.

Retail experts attributed carefully discounted lines to positive clothing and fashion sales, which rose by 2.7 per cent last month.

Lifestyle goods, such as sports equipment, saw an uplift of 3.6 per cent, while like-for-like homewares sales rose by 0.8 per cent.

Rising sales in several retail categories suggested low footfall was countered by consumers making fewer trips but spending more on each basket.

Consumers heading to stores for early Christmas shopping was cited as a significant driver of the sales push.

Read more: Local retailers the preferred choice for stress-free Christmas shopping

Commenting on the figures, Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said two consecutive months of positive growth would be a welcome relief? for retailers after poor Autumn sales in recent years.

pulling off the best September sales growth for five years is a great result for the high street at the start of this critical trading period, she added.

in a month when footfall is down, positive like-for-like sales figures demonstrate that shoppers are willing to spend. The favourable weather patterns in September cannot be ignored, particularly for fashion, but this result will be encouraging for retailers as we enter the final quarter of 2017.”

Our Bricks & Clicks video series is helping retailers strike a balance between growing a brand online and establishing a physical presence



Praseeda Nair is an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.