UK: Clothing drives February retail sales surge
Like-for-like retail sales values rose 2.7% in February
Retail sales in the UK registered their strongest growth in three years during February, and clothing led the charge with its best figures in five months.
According to the BRC/KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, like-for-like retail sales values rose 2.7% in February, while total sales were up 4.4%.
Excluding the impact of the timing of Easter, the total sales increase (+4.5%) was the best since February 2010, while like-for-like sales growth was the fastest since December 2009.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said it was “reassuring” that January’s sales momentum had continued to grow, and singled out online clothing sales as a “stand-out performer”.
“The signs are that customers seized the chance to stock up on end-of-season promotions while also responding well to new ranges,” she added.
General clothing sales were driven by children’s wear, and jackets and casual wear in particular, the BRC said.
Men’s clothing was described as “challenging” after a good January – although jeans sold well – and women’s wear was mixed, with knitwear continuing to perform well, and dresses and floral prints among the highlights in spring/summer ranges.
However, footwear was the weakest performing category after showing strong growth throughout 2012.
“There are certainly highly welcome signs here of gradual improvement and customers feeling a bit more positive,” said Dickinson.
However, John Copestake, retail analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said the figures seemed “at odds with the prevailing atmosphere”, highlighting business failures and a profit warning from retailer Debenhams.
“Despite the boost in sales, it is too early to talk of ‘green shoots’,” he added.
“Sales growth this year will still be hit by weak confidence and austerity.”
Meanwhile, analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley at Shore Capital said: “For the rag trade once senses that things could be worse: good spring weather and corresponding ranges may also lead to some decent trading updates.”
Some 190 companies have now signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh following the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Dhaka, which killed more than 1,100 people in 2013....
MarketLine's Company Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Partnerships & Alliances and Investments reports offer a comprehensive breakdown of the organic and inorganic growth activity undertaken by an organi...
Debenhams Retail Plc continued to increase its revenue in 2012, however, sales of concession brands performed much better compared to Debenhams’ own brands. The retailer is currently embarked on a fou...
UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has hired former Zara executive Florence De Boosere as global director for store environment and product presentation....
While Debenhams is committed to retaining the current number of bricks and mortar stores, it has also sought to establish itself as a key player in the booming internet market in Ireland. The company ...
UK occasion wear retailer Coast has named Kate Bostock, the former head of general merchandise at Marks & Spencer, as its new CEO, tasked with developing the business into an "international omni-chann...
UK retailer Marks & Spencer has downplayed reports that its recently-opened e-commerce distribution centre in Castle Donington has been hit by a number of IT problems....
- Low labour cost countries linked to highest risks
- Why should brands care about China cotton?
- China cotton: implications and opportunities
- COMMENT: Skills or new technology?
- UK reshoring hub hit by sweatshop claims
- South Africa to grow grass for recyclable textiles
- 30% of Adidas cotton from sustainable sources
- Activewear driving US apparel spend
- Benetton to embark on living wage roadmap
- Sri Lanka and Bangladesh FTA talks underway
- Myanmar's Garment Sector - Opportunities & Challenges in 2015
- Outdoor performance apparel: peaks, valleys, and green fields
- Global market review of swimwear - forecasts to 2019
- Management briefing: Outlook 2015: Apparel industry issues in the year ahead
- Apparel Retail: Top 5 Emerging Markets Industry Guide