August 2011 witnessed the lowest high street sales in two years, with the blame being proportioned to the combination of rioters and wet weather.
According to accountancy firm BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, mid-sized retailers reported an overall year-on-year sales drop of 2.2%, with the company further warning that Britain’s retailers may face even tougher times ahead.
High street retailers were particularly affected by the widespread disruption caused by the riots, as many shops were forced to close earlier than usual whilst also suffering from the effect of deterred customers. Resulting from this, Birmingham’s sales crashed 24.8% year-on-year, and Greater London’s footfall decreased by 6.2% on the weekend the riots began likewise.
Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO, comments: “Ever since the recession hit, smart retailers have been working flat out to keep consumers spending in an extremely tough trading environment. But the scale and ferocity of the disruption we saw in August was a real body blow.”
"However, while August's figures are undeniably bleak, we are comparing last month's sales against a strong August in 2010.
"We don't expect the pressure on consumer confidence to ease – or the cash they have in their pockets to increase – so we're not expecting the sort of 'keep calm and carry on' sales uplift that we might see if the economy was in better health."