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U.K. Retail Sales Fall on Rainy Winter Weather, BDO Survey Says

March 2 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. retail sales fell in February as the wettest winter since at least 1766 kept some consumers away from shops, according to business adviser BDO LLP.

Like-for-like sales fell 0.9 percent compared with last year, BDO said in a report released today. Fashion sales declined 3.3 percent year-on-year with consumers unsure whether to purchase wet weather clothing or items from new Spring collections. Sales of homewares rose 9.8 percent. The data includes sales from about 85 companies with about 10,000 stores.

“The January sales tend to condition shoppers against paying full price, but retailers have been noticeably bolder about protecting their margins this year and most have avoided continued, deep discounting into February,” Don Williams, BDO’s national head of retail and wholesale, said in the statement. “The bad weather has certainly had an impact on footfall, but retailers are telling us that those consumers that braved the elements were spending and that conversion rates were up, which softened the blow.”

BDO advises retailers with its monthly High Street Sales Tracker report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alastair Marsh in London at amarsh25@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shelley Smith at ssmith118@bloomberg.net

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