Non-food retailers’ trading has been disrupted over the past week by heavy snowfall as staff struggled to get to work and customers avoided venturing out to take advantage of the January Sales.
Fashion sales slid 12.6% last week according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, while furniture sales plummeted 26.9% in a key selling period.
Multichannel retailers benefited as consumers shopped from home but non-store sales growth was below the previous week, which BDO said could be down to shoppers worrying about delivery.
JD Sports Fashion chairman Peter Cowgill said that the snow would dent the Sale momentum for high street shoppers. He said: “The Sale started well but we are not over the moon with the weather.
That has killed the Sale mentality and when it has thawed people coming to the shops will want something new.”
One menswear retailer estimated it had lost between £300,000 and £400,000 in sales since the heavy snow hit last week.
An HMV spokesman said staff availability and product supply were concerns, along with footfall.
“Some of the predictions from the Met Office have been wide of the mark at times, which hasn’t helped,” he said. “Despite all this, and the occasional unavoidable delays to opening stores and some earlier than planned closures, we have pretty much been able to keep the chain trading, which is remarkable.”
M&S helped its customers by extending its refund deadline for Christmas purchases on goods bought between October 1 and December 24. Products can now be returned until January 30.
Halfords said it had record sales on screenwash, wiper blades, deicer, antifreeze and car batteries and was working around the clock to keep stores stocked with winter motoring essentials.