UK high street enjoys best June in six years

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Last month was the best June for the UK high street in six years, helped by warm weather and poor performance in the same month last year.

According to the latest BDO High Street Sales Tracker, retailers saw overall sales increase by 1.3% compared to June last year.

"This growth was off a negative base of -3.6 percent for the same month last year, but after four months with no growth, this might offer a ray of sunshine to UK retailers," BDO said.

High street like-for-like sales had been hit by fashion’s continued decline in May, dropping 1.3% throughout that month. Nonetheless, last month saw fashion sales go up by 1.4% year-on-year as shoppers overhauled their wardrobes for the June heatwave.
Meanwhile, like-for-like sales of lifestyle goods went up by 1.2 per cent, boosted by strong tourist numbers and Father’s Day, and homeware sales edged up 0.5 per cent.

Despite the promising figures, the BDO warned that last year’s post-Brexit referendum sales slump needed to be taken into account.

“This time last year the EU referendum outcome led to reluctance by consumers to spend, making it the high street’s worst June in a decade,” BDO head of retail Sophie Michael said.

“This June, consumers were distracted by a general election, but that didn’t stop them heading to the shops when the sun came out.

“Retailers will take heart from consumers’ willingness to spend, but there is evidence shoppers are delving into their savings which is clearly not a sustainable position.

“With real earnings falling which will inevitably result in consumers to tighten their belts, product range and the retail experience will be ever more important factors together with discount offers to encourage spending.”