Cool weather hits UK clothing sales in April
UK clothing and footwear sales were affected by the cooler weather in April, which dampened the launch of spring/summer ranges, while increasing cost pressures continued to affect consumer confidence.
UK retail sales were flat during the four weeks to 30 April, for the second month in a row, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail/Online Sales Monitor. BRC said positive food sales offset record declines in fashion for retailers. On a like-for-like basis, sales edged down 0.9% from April 2015.
As a result, the 12-month average growth for non-food sales slowed to 2.5%. BRC said, overall, flat total sales mask a mixed picture with some retailers benefiting from the healthy housing market, while others were more susceptible to the effects of lower consumer confidence.
David McCorquodale, head of retail for KPMG, said temperatures in April were well below the average for the time of year, with fashion and footwear particularly affected.
However, he added: "With warm spring-like conditions now prevailing, fashion retailers will be hoping this will motivate the summer wardrobe refresh, and the grocers will be looking forward to a summer of sporting events in the hopes the feel good factor will encourage consumer spending."
Online sales of non-food products increased 6.6% in April, which, despite being a healthy increase, is the slowest growth since April 2013. However, online remained a significant proportion of total non-food retail sales at 20.9%; only fractionally down on the highest on record.
"Looking ahead, retailers may well need to bolster online offerings as warmer temperatures start to tempt consumers back into the shops," added McCorquodale.
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