Halloween week spooks the High Street as retail sales plummet by more than 6%
- Sales in the last week of October fell by 6.45% but were up by 0.7% in the month
- Footfall fell by 1.8% over the whole month; in the last week it was down by 5.3%
The week of Halloween was a scary one indeed for High Street retailers as sales fell by more than 6 per cent in the last seven days of October, research shows.
Fewer shoppers visited stores, with footfall dropping 1.8 per cent over the whole month, and especially in the last week when it was down by 5.3 per cent.
The month of October as a whole, however, saw total like-for-like sales inch up by 0.7 per cent, according to the latest High Street sales tracker by consultancy BDO.
Sales in the last week of October fell by 6.45 per cent, BDO said
That echoes separate figures by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, which reported an increase of 0.6 per cent last month, marking the best performance since April.
‘While the first three weeks of October may have brought hope to the High Street, the final week was awful and came very close to negating the positive gains in the first weeks of October,’ said Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, which compiles the monthly sales tracker.
Sales in the last week of October fell by 6.45 per cent. BDO says the decline is down to ‘a double blow’ of another Brexit delay combined with news of a General Election.
‘As retailers continue to trade on paper-thin margins, and their pleas for business rates reform remain ignored, they enter the vital Christmas trading period facing a perfect storm of unfavourable conditions,’ Michael added.
Sales of lifestyle products recorded a decrease of 1.9 per cent to mark the 21st consecutive month of no growth for the sector, considered the most indicative of discretionary spending.
The latest retail sales figures come as another retailer, Mothercare UK, fell into administration.
Its UK arm lost £36.3million last year, compared to profits of £28.3million in the international business. The collapse puts the jobs of 2,860 shop, head office and distribution staff in Britain in dire jeopardy.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said earlier this week: ‘Retailers embarked on an extraordinary period of discounting this October as they tried to entice shoppers into making purchases.
‘Fashion shops were particularly active, helping non-food return to growth for the first time since July.
But she continued: ‘With Brexit still unresolved and a December election creating new uncertainties, retailers will be looking nervously at the months ahead.’