Underlying high street sales have fallen 2.7 per cent compared with a year ago.
According to the latest statistics, homeware saw sales growth fall by 6.1 per cent year-on-year in August, the worst August for homeware since 2012. While fashion saw its worst August since 2015, with sales down in store in every week of August.
Overall, August experienced the sector’s worst performance for three years. This is the seventh month in a row in which sales have fallen.
A spokesperson for the report comments: “With inflation continuing to bite on the weekly shop and the heatwave driving discretionary spending to bars and entertaining, there is even less disposable income heading to the high street.
“There are signs that retailer margins are being protected through tighter management of stock levels and shortening discount periods. However, next month is going to be an important bellwether for retailers leading into the crucial last quarter of the calendar year.
“For the consumer, it is a question of priorities. In a climate of rising interest rates, prices rising and subdued real wage growth, there is limited discretionary spend left and that is taking its toll on fashion and homeware sales, especially bigger-ticket items.
“As always, there will be winners and losers in retail as we enter the crucial last quarter of the year. With the holiday season over and most now returning to work, spending levels in the next six to eight weeks will quickly identify those retailers that have created a formula for success.”
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