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January Sales Revive Fortunes Of High Street

05 February 2016

Bargain hunters came out in force last month to give the UK high street a boost at the beginning of 2016, figures out today from accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP reveal.

BDO’s monthly High Street Sales Tracker (HSST) recorded a 1.4% growth in year-on-year sales for January. Fashion sales were particularly strong, recording a year-on-year rise of 1.9% for the whole of January. The lifestyle sector increased sales by 0.3% and homewares sales grew by 0.8%. Non-store sales rose by 20.2% compared to the same period last year.

Retailers will be breathing a sigh of relief after BDO’s December figures recorded the worst Christmas trading figures on the high street since 2008 (down 5.3% year-on-year).

With December stock to shift, retailers managed to attract bargain hunters in the traditional January sale period.

Fashion sales were up over 5% year-on-year in the first two weeks of the month as shoppers continued to spend beyond the first week of January – something they failed to do last year. Like-for-like sales did however move back into negative territory once the sales period ended.

Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO, said retailers would be feeling better after the disastrous December, but warned that shoppers still had a bargain mentality. 

“The lull between Black Friday and the January sales was particularly noticeable at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016,” she explained.

“Retailers might be getting better at attracting the new generation of savvier shoppers in discounting periods, but margins will suffer unless they sell full-price stock too.

“The strong retail performers demonstrate that consumers are willing to pay full price if they see a desirable product. The stores that will thrive in 2016 will be the ones who combine a strong customer service proposition with an attractive brand and a compelling product mix.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP has a clear ambition to be known in the market for exceptional service delivered by empowered people. The Mid-Market Monitor shows that BDO is the market leader for client satisfaction for the fourth year running – outperforming all its major competitors.

BDO’s heartland is the mid-market. The UK mid-market accounts for less than 1% of all firms but delivers a third of UK revenue and one in four jobs. In the last five years, medium-sized businesses have grown turnover by 55% and profits by 110%. BDO’s New Economy research (www.bdo.co.uk/neweconomy) calls for the government to put the UK mid-market at the heart of its plans to rebalance the economy and help this already successful sector expand further.  

BDO LLP

BDO LLP operates in 18 offices across the UK, employing 3,500 people offering tax, audit and assurance, and a range of advisory services. BDO LLP is the UK member firm of the BDO International network with revenues approaching £400m.

BDO International

The BDO International network provides business advisory services in 154 countries, with 64,500 people working out of 1,400 offices worldwide. It has revenues of $7.3bn.