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High Street In Sales Frenzy Amid Gloomy June

(c) Sky News 2012

British retailers have gone into overdrive with sales in recent days, as the gloomy weather compounded misery on the high street.

Some 73% of stores advertised special offers last week, up from 40% three years ago, according to figures from professional services group PwC, while discounts were deeper than a year ago.

The figures, which underline the plight of the high street as shoppers cut back on luxuries, come as retailers face paying their quarterly rent bill.

The beleaguered sector gained a boost from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee but June's erratic weather is since thought to have hit demand, particularly for fashion items.

The average price discounts being advertised were 47%, up slightly from 45% in 2011 and 2010, the survey of 100 retailers on UK high streets added.

PwC's chief retail adviser Christine Cross said: "UK consumers are good at celebrating jubilees, football prowess or potential Olympic glory but they are proving less willing to part with their cash except when the sun comes out or goods go on sale.

"Clothing purchases are weather-related and canny consumers also know mid-June means worried retailers who need to clear stock to leave room for new lines."

The current quarter is not normally a time of high numbers of high street retail insolvencies, although the recent bad weather may have left some fashion retailers with the wrong stock.

PwC said supermarkets were suffering "troublesome" retail trends as shoppers continued to show their "love affair with value".

However, the wet holiday weather has benefited pubs and fast food chains by encouraging people to eat out rather than have barbecues at home.

Retailers are hoping that some late summer sun and the Olympics will boost trade in the coming weeks, but consumers are expected to remain cautious as the eurozone crisis dents confidence.

The high street has suffered a spate of retail collapses since the financial crisis struck, with Clinton Cards (LSE: CC.L - news) , the UK's biggest specialist cards retailer, among the recent casualties.