Misery continues on the high street

The high street suffered its worst performance for three years as retail sales fell for a second consecutive month in April, suggesting that the softening economy is forcing consumers to spend less on clothes and shoes.

The figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) out today (May 13) show that like-for-like sales fell 1.5% in April compared with the same month last year. This followed the 1.6% sales decline in March as the retail sector plumbed depths not seen since 2005. However, total sales, which include outlets that were not open last year, rose by 1% over the month.

Clothing and footwear stores saw their worst monthly performance for eight years as the poor weather hit sales despite heavy discounts and promotions, according to the BRC. Sales of furniture were also hard hit by the slowing housing market and sales of “big” electrical items fell sharply as consumers refrained from non-essential spending.

The only sectors to record a rising sales were food, homewares and toiletries.

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