Cold weather hits UK fashion sales in February
Like-for-like sales at UK fashion retailers edged down 0.6% in February
Cold weather in February caused UK fashion sales to slip back into negative territory, with consumers delaying spring purchases until the weather improves.
BDO's High Street Sales Tracker found like-for-like sales at fashion retailers fell 0.6% despite growth in the first two weeks of the month, due to reduced levels of discounting compared to last year.
Many stores launched spring lines in February, but with the weather staying wintery for most of the month, shoppers appeared to be delaying their spending until the weather improves, BDO said.
The cold weather was a particular deterrent on the high street and in shopping centres where footfall was down throughout the month, whilst retailers who centre their trading around retail parks were able to benefit from increased levels of footfall.
Overall like-for-like sales (excluding non-store sales) were also down by 0.2% last month during the four weeks to 1 March. Non-store sales increased 22.2%, but BDO highlighted that this is the second lowest rise since August 2012, despite an exceptional week for online sales in the final week.
But Sophie Bevan, head of retail and wholesale at BDO predicts a brighter March. “As the weather improves, people will start looking at spring fashion lines and thinking about their homes and gardens.
“Although overall sales are down, levels of discounting have been down too as retailers try to protect their margins. They’ll still have to make sure their stock levels are flexible enough to react to weather fluctuations over the next few weeks, but if they get their full price lines right, we’ll definitely start to see evidence of consumer’s new spending power at the tills.”
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