Last week’s hot weather hit retail footfall and sent general merchandisers’ sales down for a second week running.

Stores suffered a 5.6 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in the week to July 5, BDO Stoy Hayward’s High Street Sales Tracker showed.

BDO Stoy Hayward head of retail Rupert Eastell said: “Retailers will be hoping that sales figures will start to improve very quickly or it could signal problems for a number of retailers.

“The exceptionally warm weather experienced by much of the country generally discouraged high street footfall, while a third week of summer discounting largely failed to stimulate significant new demand.”

During the week homewares sales slid 14.1 per cent, non-fashion was down 7.3 per cent and fashion suffered a 4.1 per cent decline. Although non-store sales advanced 20 per cent, that was the slowest rate of growth since February.

Eastell said there were signs that pay freezes and rising unemployment are undermining consumer demand.