High street retailers are hoping that the royal wedding and the coming bank holidays will boost their sales after experiencing their seventh month in a row without notable growth.
According to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker, unpredictable weather and weak sales over the Easter season ended in retailers suffering a decline in sales by 3.8 percent year on year in April.
April is the seventh consecutive month where the like-for-like sales have failed to improve by even a single percentage point.
Last month, homewares was the worst performing sector with a decline of 8.8 percent in sales, its weakest performance in over a decade.
Sales in the lifestyle sector also dropped for the third consecutive month by 3.7 percent, while like-for-like sales for fashion declined by 3.3 percent.
However, online fashion sales manifested strong growth, improving by 25.4 percent year on year to significantly outpace the overall online growth of 16.4 percent, as the mini-heatwave attracted shoppers to refresh their wardrobes.
BDO, an accountancy and business advisory firm, said that retailers were now pinning their hopes for this month on a “much-needed spark to consumer confidence” from the two bank holidays and the royal wedding.
The head of retail and wholesale at BDO, Sophie Michael, stated: “After another set of poor results, it’s perhaps time for retailers to seek out emerging positive trends on which to reignite consumer spending.
“There are some encouraging signs that could provide a much-needed spark to consumer confidence.
“We have real earnings growth coupled with a royal wedding and two bank holidays around the corner. Maybe with the right weather, the combination of these factors could be just the boost retailers have been hoping for.
“But retailers must find ways to turn the shopper feel-good factor into sales of full-price lines.
“Chances to protect margins are few and far between, so its vital stores steer shoppers away from the discount rail by providing an appealing product range and a distinctive shopping experience.”