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Longest UK retail downturn since Covid-19 lockdown

Retailers are facing their most extended period of sales decline since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, with consumers scaling back their spending for the fifth consecutive month in the UK.

According to recent data from accountancy firm BDO, like-for-like sales in fashion, homewares, and lifestyle sectors experienced a collective decline of 1.3% in February. Homewares witnessed a decrease of 4.2%, while the lifestyle sector reported a more modest decline of 3.9%. Despite a 2.9% uptick in online sales offering some respite by partially offsetting a 2% dip in store sales, the overall performance remained in negative territory, as noted by BDO.

Photo © Brett Critchley |

Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO, commented on the challenging scenario, stating, 'The only time we've seen results this poor was during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown period, when the majority of non-essential retailers were forced to remain closed. Retailers are facing a perfect storm with a sustained decline in consumer spending in discretionary categories and substantial increases in their operating and borrowing costs.'


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