High street sales in September recorded the best monthly in-store results since before Covid-19 began in February, according to new figures.
BDO, an accountancy and business advisory firm, said sales at the beginning of September were the second-best weekly total since early March. Sales rose by 65.1% in September compared with the previous month.
Whilst sales were stronger in the first weeks of September, the effect of the second Covid-19 wave and lockdown restrictions raised fears that sales will be hit once again.
Lifestyle physical store sales fell by 19.2% in September compared with the same period last year, marking the eighth consecutive month of declines in monthly year-on-year results.
Sales in fashion stores fell by 30.4% over the same period.
Homeware physical store sales remained flat in September. Shoppers trying to improve their homes helped drive sales up with the first week of September recording a 21.3% increase on the exceptional low prompted by the arrival of Covid in March.
Additionally, online sales which have typically been more successful, continued a long-term decline from initial highs earlier in the pandemic and recorded the lowest weekly result since March at the end of September.
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO said: “Activity in retail sales was picking up in the third quarter but there is concern that this will quickly fade amid rising nervousness as government support schemes which have helped to prop up jobs and businesses’ cash resources begin to diminish.
“A worse-than-expected Christmas season coupled with a second lockdown could ignite an unstoppable series of further closures on the British high street and the demise of even more brands.”