September has seen a bout of unusually warm weather in the last week of the month, which has been bad news for the country’s retail department, due to more interest in enjoying the sun than shopping, according to a report from accountancy group BDO.
Report of Smaller Sales Figures
Last month saw like-for-like sales drop by 4% compared to the amount a year before, with the sharpest drop since March of 2009. The report showed that clothing and fashion stores were impacted the greatest, with little interest in winter fashions. It said, “Rather than stock up on cardigans and coats, consumers largely avoided the High Street in favour of a final few days of sun.”
Lack of promotions combined with the economic uncertainty and doubt and the good weather meant that retailers, especially fashion and clothing shops on the High Street would suffer a “perfect storm”. Same store sales at fashion shops dropped 5.1% in September.
However, the head of BDO’s retail and wholesale division, Don Williams held a hopeful outlook, with the idea that with the holiday season fast approaching, growth should improve. “While conditions on the High Street are undoubtedly tough, consumer spending is unlikely to collapse completely between now and Christmas. We expect an element of bounce back now the temperature has dropped, and the usual seasonal promotions are starting to appear,” said the head.
Other Reports and Thoughts
In addition, a report from the group Springboard showed that retail footfall dropped by 1.2% in September as well. Consumer confidence is not high and while Mr. Williams has a point that people will begin to spend more throughout the holidays, rising costs of living combined with higher fuel costs this winter will potentially mean less spending than previous years, though more spending than the summer.
In addition, more people withdrew money out of cash machines the Friday after the weather hit and more money was spent on cash only transactions, for sales outside the High Street, unlikely to be recorded in the same manner. The BDO report and the Springboard report show a drop in retail sales, especially at fashion shops, but anything left over from summer shopping, e.g. sun cream, flew off the shelves and gained a large demand at the end of the month.