Market Research Finds In-Store Retail Sales Drop Two Percent in December

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6th January 2014 12:22 - Retail

According to the latest figures from BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, medium sized retailers had a challenging December, although softened by a 31% rise in online sales, in-store sales were down by more than 2%.

Fashion retailers suffered the most with in-store sales down almost five percent (4.6%) during some unseasonable weather and widespread discounting – according to the survey of eighty-five chains including French Connection, Gap, Hobbs, Paperchase and Conran stores. In total circa 10,000 stores were surveyed.

In contrast to the fashion sector, homeware retailers reported an increase of almost a tenth (8%) in in-store sales during December compared with last year – boosted by demand for decorations and tableware.

Non-store sales were the real stars of Christmas with overall sales up three tenths (31%) on 2012. The week before Christmas saw non-store sales increase by half (55.7%) – an impressive figure against a strong like-for-like.

Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said:

"As anticipated, online sales and 'click and collect' were the real success stories this Christmas and these figures illustrate just how critical it is for retailers to invest in online routes to market. Many retailers will feel disappointed with reduced footfall in stores but when the technology is right this shows that this need not be a disaster.”

John Stevenson, an Analyst at Peel Hunt, said:

"The core high street fashion market was clearly very promotionally driven before Christmas. M&S will struggle to deliver the sort of numbers we've seen coming out of Next but I don't think their figures will be as poor as Debenhams.”

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