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'It's time the government took action' - Ipswich loses four shops during high street's worst May on record

PUBLISHED: 09:22 07 June 2019

Last month was the worst May on record for Britain's high streets, according to latest figures. The month saw four Ipswich stores reveal they would be closing down. Photo: Archant.

Last month was the worst May on record for Britain's high streets, according to latest figures. The month saw four Ipswich stores reveal they would be closing down. Photo: Archant.

Archant

Four stores announced they would be leaving Ipswich during the worst May on record for British high streets.

New figures from BDO's High Street Sales Tracker (HSST) revealed sales dropped by 3.3% on last year.

The worrying drop follows four months of poor results for the nation's retailers.

MORE: 'Town is getting very quiet' - Fears grow as more Ipswich shops reveal closure plans

Last month concerns about the future of Ipswich' town centre continued to grow as four more shops announced their exit.

Riley & Riley Jewellers in Buttermarket, Trespass in Westgate Street, Ohh Deer in Thoroughfare and Cotswold Outdoors in Tavern Street all revealed they would likewise be closing down.

And while Ohh Deer is the only store to have cleared out, the others are in process of leaving Ipswich.

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The lifestyle sector continued its collapse as in-store sales fell 2.4% from an already negative base of minus 3.8% in May last year. The sector has now failed to record growth for 16 months.

Fashion in-store sales also declined by 4.2% from a marginal base of positive 0.4% for the same month last year.

BDO said the figures reflected how difficult the trading environment had become for retailers MORE: Opening date of new Cardinal Park gym revealed

They follow the British Retail Consortium warning that the high street saw its biggest decline since the mid 1990s last month after overall retail sales fell by 2.7%.

Sophie Michael, head of retail at BDO, said: "Our high streets are creaking at the seams. It's time the government took action and showed some much-needed support for retailers and to the millions of people the sector employs.

"Both retailers and shoppers alike need a clear roadmap that can deliver much needed confidence for the future.

"Retailers know they need to adapt their physical portfolios and respond quickly to changing consumer behaviours, but they are in investment paralysis as Brexit uncertainty drags on and consumer confidence remains low.

"It is vital that the ambivalence with which the high street is currently being treated is replaced with concerted action, or the results could be catastrophic."

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