UK retail sales plunged in August

Retailers in the UK suffered a huge plunge in sales in August – the worst drop since the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

According to BDO’s high street sales tracker, retail sales fell 4.3 per cent in August compared to the same month last year.

The drop in August is the biggest since November 2008 and is the sixth monthly dip so far this year.

“The high street was losing out as UK consumers opted to spend their disposable income on leisure pursuits, eating out and holidays,” said Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO.

“The strength of the pound has encouraged Brits to spend more abroad rather than in the UK.”

“People are treating themselves but in pubs and restaurants and on going abroad instead of the shops,” added Ms Michael.

“With the holiday season over and the summer weather starting to fade, retailers will be hoping this is the start of a shopping spree that sees them into the Autumn season and beyond.”

August was a particularly disappointing month for fashion retailers, with like-for-likes plunging by 5.5% for the month. Lifestyle retailers saw a slight decline in like-for-likes of 1.3%, while homeware like-for-likes slumped by 3.3%.

According to the report:

“Consumers remain selective about spending. Specialist fashion retailers and small ticket giftware retailers reported relatively strong like-for-likes through the month, whereas furniture and retailers of premium lifestyle goods struggled to convert footfall into sales.”


Source: BDO High Street Sales Tracker

BDO surveyed around 85 market retailers with some 10,000 individual stores – mainly located on high streets throughout the UK. The report provides a snapshot of how retailers are faring across the country.