High street sales have finally started to grow again after a nine-month hiatus, according to figures released by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP.
BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker recorded a year-on-year growth of 0.7% for October, ending a run of monthly sales drops that began with a 1.7% fall in February.
Sales of lifestyle goods grew by 2.3% in October and homeware sales lifted by 11.6%.
BDO said the return to growth will be a huge boost to stores as they head into the crucial Christmas period.
The company added: ‘With Black Friday (November 25) and Cyber Monday (November 28) just around the corner, many stores would have been preparing to sacrifice margins in pursuit of sales volume.
‘With consumer confidence boosted by low unemployment and encouraging figures from the post-referendum economy, consumers have been spending with a freedom not seen since the January sales.’
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP, commented: “Shoppers have reminded everyone of their resilience and this result provides a promising start to a crucial trading quarter. Prices will inevitably rise next year in the context of the falling pound but right now people are remarkably upbeat about their finances.
“Retailers have a perfect window of opportunity to push full price lines and claw back their margins prior to Black Friday. A strong product and service proposition will be critical for wooing shoppers while there is an appetite to spend.”
BDO LLP operates in 18 offices across the UK, employing 3,500 people offering tax, audit and assurance, and a range of advisory services.