The high street slump continued in September, with retail sales falling 4 per cent, the steepest fall in demand since February 2009, according to BDO's High Street Sales Tracker. The biggest hit was felt by fashion stores, which saw sales down 5.1 per cent.
BDO said the combination of unseasonal weather, economic gloom and lack of promotions had been something of a "perfect storm" for the high street and fashion retailers in particular.
The doom was deepened by Springboard's National High Street Index which revealed a 1.2 per cent fall in footfall in September. Regional cities continued to see a decline in footfall above the national average, with a year-on-year drop of 7.6 per cent. Provincial towns, however, were resilient as consumers chose to "shop local".