Consumers think summer has come too late for the UK high street, survey finds

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Good weather is set to return over the weekend and retailers will be relieved they can start to sell some of the summer stock that has been sitting on shelves during the prolonged winter.

However, most consumers think summer may have come too late for the high street, according to a survey carried out by accountants Baker Tilly.

Its online study, asked members of the public if they thought the prolonged bad weather and delayed summer has had a detrimental effect on UK retailers. Unsurprisingly, four out of five people agreed that it had.

Rupert Eastell, Baker Tilly’s head of retail, said: “Clearly retailers will have suffered as a result of the long winter leaving them with a few months to shift their summer stock, and this doesn’t leave them much of a margin for error.

“I think the real problem here is the inflexibility of the supply chain, and the fact a large number of retailers still have to order their stock many months in advance. The really savvy retailers will have an agreement with their suppliers whereby they can receive their goods within a few weeks, and I suspect these outlets won’t have been caught in the trap of struggling to move large quantities of summer stock. Other retailers include transition ranges within their product planning to de-risk the impact of the bad weather.

“The weather in the UK has never and will never be predictable, and I think retailers need to work even harder in revamping their supply agreements and product ranging, or face the possibility of a few poor seasons tipping them over the edge.”