LONDON, March 10 Britain's shops endured their
worst fall in February sales since 2009, a survey showed on
Friday, adding to evidence of a Brexit-related consumer slowdown
as London gears up for divorce talks with the European Union.
Recent data and surveys have indicated that consumers are
feeling the strain of rising prices after last year's Brexit
vote, while British retailers, including department stores chain
John Lewis , supermarket Morrisons
and Wickes owner Travis Perkins, have said they are
bracing for uncertainty.
Accountancy firm BDO said its monthly High Street Sales
Tracker found overall UK like-for-like sales fell 2.2 percent in
February - a third straight month of decline.
BDO highlighted a particularly weak performance for fashion
where sales fell 3.4 percent - the poorest result for the sector
since September 2016.
Sales of homewares fell for the first time since June 2016 –
down 1.4 percent year-on-year
Online sales growth also slowed, to 19.9 percent.
“(Storm) Doris kept shoppers away from the high street, but
the relatively poor growth of online sales in February shows
that the economic headwinds significantly curbed spending,"
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said.
“The majority of retailers’ price hedges ran out at the end
of last year, and inflationary cost pressures have forced them
to increase prices – sharply in some cases."
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alexander Smith)