Insolvency expert urges retailers to remain cautious despite sales recovery

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Retailers in the UK have been urged by a legal expert to think carefully about how they approach the coming months despite increasingly encouraging signs that the sector has well and truly turned the corner.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard have revealed that footfall at shopping sites across the country increased by 0.8% in July compared to 12 months ago, which also marked a 0.1% rise from June.

The release of the research has come after figures from the Office for National Statistics last week showed retail sales across the month were up 3% during July from a year ago, with the estimated weekly spend reaching an average of £7bn.

Andrew Walker, a partner and expert in corporate recovery at national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, said the figures were positive but by no means a sign that retailers should overstretch themselves in the short term.

“It is fantastic to see more good news for retailers with several reports indicating consumer confidence is on the up and that shops are enjoying a strong summer.

“However, it is also important to reiterate businesses should not take this as a sign that the sector is truly out of the woods. We would urge companies to remain on the side of caution and ensure they are in a robust enough position to either take advantage of potential opportunities or remain stable if tough times emerge once more.

“This will be particularly important to seasonal businesses which rely on a strong summer but often see some dip across winter. They will need to keep funds in reserve as times get tighter, particularly as the positivity in the sector does not mean that requests for extensions on facilities will be easy to come by.”