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Late Easter fails to ‘egg-on’ spending

04 May 2017

Poor high street figures built on a dismal prior year baseline.

The later Easter holiday failed to inspire UK consumers into a Spring shopping spree, according to figures released today by accountancy and business advisory firm,  BDO.

According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker (HSST), UK retailers saw April’s like-for-like trading grow just 1.9%.

But while April represented the first month of growth this year, it came off an extremely weak base. April 2016 recorded a year-on-year fall of -6.1%; the worst month’s performance since February 2009. 

Despite the new season, April’s fashion sales managed growth of just 1.2%. Lifestyle retailers fared better, enticing overseas shoppers to take advantage of the weak pound and push like-for-like growth up 5.3% for the sector. Homewares sales dropped by -3.1% for April, but this was in the context of a strong comparative of  17.8% for home goods in April 2016.   

While non-store sales grew by +15.1% in April, this was the lowest pace of monthly growth seen since September last year.

The Easter effect produced a small sales fillip – BDO’s figures show total growth for April would have been less at 0.16% with the week leading up to the Easter weekend excluded. Nevertheless, the failure to grow off such a low comparative base has alarmed retail analysts. 

Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said: “With Easter falling later, retailers would have been expecting a boost in sales in April, so these poor results will be clearly disappointing.”

“Retailers need to hold their nerve; focusing on product and range as well as innovative promotional activity to ignite spending - whilst preserving their profit margins.”

Sophie added “With the warmer months in sight and a predicted flurry of overseas visitors to take advantage of the weaker pound, opportunities are out there for retailers with the right product and service offering.”

ENDS

Note to editors

Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP provides integrated advice and solutions to help businesses navigate a changing world. 

Our clients are Britain’s economic engine – ambitious, entrepreneurially-spirited and high growth businesses that fuel the economy.  

We share our clients’ ambitions and their entrepreneurial mind-set. We have the right combination of global reach, integrity and expertise to help them succeed.  

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 has revenues of £405m and is the UK member firm of the BDO International network.

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.  

 

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