More shops un­der threat

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Business - HANNAH BAKER [email protected]­plc.com

BRIS­TOL is at risk of los­ing more high street shops in the New Year after Black Fri­day failed to bring the boost re­tail­ers needed, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

De­spite pro­mo­tions and dis­counts last Fri­day and over the week­end, like-for-like sales in high street stores fell flat, with growth of less than 0.5 per cent.

Bricks-and-mor­tar re­tail­ers at­tracted fewer shop­per than Black Fri­day week last year - down 6.5 per cent - the re­search from ad­vi­sory firm BDO found.

The firm is now warn­ing of more high-pro­file store clo­sures in the New Year, which could see more shops dis­ap­pear­ing from Bris­tol.

How­ever, on­line re­tail­ers saw like­for-like sales grow by 30.8 per cent - the best Black Fri­day week since 2014.

So­phie Michael, head of re­tail at BDO, told The Mir­ror: “Re­tail­ers will be hugely dis­ap­pointed with the flat in-store sales last week.

“Many have been man­a­cled by a dire high street per­for­mance this year and forced to take part in Black Fri­day even at the cost of mar­gin.

“Last year, high street re­tail­ers suf­fered their fifth suc­ces­sive De­cem­ber of neg­a­tive sales growth.

“They will be des­perately hop­ing next month won’t mark the sixth but this Black Fri­day per­for­mance won’t be giv­ing them much hope. Like it or loathe it, this Amer­i­can im­port is now firmly part of the UK’s shopping cal­en­dar and it takes a bold re­tailer to with­hold dis­count­ing.

“The weeks lead­ing up to Christ­mas are no longer the golden trad­ing pe­riod but a dis­count­ing frenzy fu­elled by at­tempts to en­tice shop­pers into stores and res­cue poor sales per­for­mance for the year.”

Mean­while, in­de­pen­dent shops in Bris­tol saw a 14 per cent in­crease in sales over the Black Fri­day sales pe­riod, com­pared to a na­tional av­er­age of seven per cent, ac­cord­ing to soft­ware firm Vend.

The deep­en­ing high street cri­sis has seen swathes of well-known brands dis­ap­pear from the city in 2018, in­clud­ing Toys R Us and Maplin.

Like-for like sales in Bris­tol’s high street stores fell flat over Black Fri­day week­end

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