Overall retail sales increased in July but saw a significant fall in the last two weeks of the month as a result of bad weather.

rainy shopping street

Sales took a hit in the final two weeks of July, likely due to wet weather

Despite wet weather, July saw a 3.6% increase in total like-for-like sales compared with the same time last year, according to BDO’s latest High Street Sales Tracker.

During the same period, in-store like-for-like sales grew by 6.3%, while non-store sales jumped 4.5%, compared with July 2022. 

Sales took a “significant” hit in the final two weeks of the month as wet weather resulted in falls of 0.55% and 0.42% in sales respectively, compared with the same weeks last year. 

The homewares sector continued to perform poorly, recording 0.9% like-for-like sales growth from -6%, whereas the fashion sector recorded “modest” growth of 3% in like-for-like sales.

Like-for-like sales for fashion in store fell by 0.3% in the third and fourth weeks of the month due to bad weather.

The lifestyle sector saw the strongest growth, of 7.1% from a base of 11.6%, with in-store sales remaining strong throughout the month, largely driven by an increase in holiday spending. 

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “Although these figures highlight a small increase in sales in July, this really has been a month of two halves.

“The growth in the first half of the month was still below inflation rates, meaning sales volumes are still significantly down. The second half of the month saw sales going backwards, declining compared to last year.

“The first couple of weeks of July saw higher levels of discretionary spending, encouraged by some heavy discounting in the fashion sector and consumers making purchasing ahead of the schools breaking up for summer, but sales in the latter half of the month were likely dampened by more people travelling on holiday and the unseasonably wet weather.”