Black Friday discounting and good weather hit December retail sales, according to the latest BDO High Street Sales Tracker.
Like-for-like sales at mid-market retailers slumped 1.4% year on year over December as shoppers were absent from the traditional last-minute rush in the wake of the shopping frenzy on November 28.
Sales of lifestyle goods rose 3.5% and homewares sales increased by 8.2%. This was not enough to make up for a 3.1% decline experienced in the fashion sector, slumping further to a 6.1% decline in the last week of the year. BDO attributed this to a “combination of unhelpful weather conditions and unfamiliar shopping patterns”.
BDO head of retail and wholesale Sophie Bevan said: “For most retailers, Black Friday took the wind out of their sails for December. The unseasonal weather over the autumn left fashion stores with stock to shift, but the hype around Black Friday meant many shoppers had spent the majority of their budget by the end of November.
“When like-for-like sales dropped by over 3% in the second week of December, retailers started to get nervous, resulting in early discounting. But we will not see the real cost that these heavy promotional activities have had on margins until the post-Christmas reckoning of results.”