UK retail suffered in sunny May, royal wedding dented sales says BDO

A raft of reports around UK retail during May are coming out at the moment and they’re particularly interesting because they show whether the warmer weather, along with the royal wedding, boosted or dented shopping. So which way did UK retail go? According to the latest report from BDO, it headed downwards. 


In fact, BDO said it was the worst May performance compared to the previous year in 12 years, because comparable sales fell 2.2%. That means it's eight months since they rose 1% or more, the High Street Sales Tracker (HSST) showed.

Clearly, something went wrong in a month that offered plenty of anecdotal evidence of sales increases and also a number predictions that sales would rise.

That royal wedding was partly to blame. It may have been great news for Givenchy and Stella McCartney, but it seems that shops were deserted on May 19 as consumers watched the wedding. And they stayed at home for the rest of the day to watch the FA Cup final too, and maybe enjoy the sunshine in the garden. In the third week of the month, sales of discretionary items fell 5.1% as a result.

And that sunshine it really was a big part of the problem overall last month. While a lack of sunshine had dented spring season sales earlier in the year, two public holidays during May and some very hot weather meant consumers were more inclined to enjoy the great outdoors and to socialise, rather than shopping for fashion or any other product category.

BDO said that while the lifestyle sector saw overall sales down 3.8%, homewares were particularly hard hit with a 15.2% fall.

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