UK: Discounting weighs on July fashion sales
Like-for-like sales at fashion retailers edged down 0.7% in July
Seasonal discounting weighed on sales at UK fashion retailers in July - dropping for the first time in four months despite a strong start to the month, new figures reveal.
According to BDO's High Street Sales Tracker, like-for-like sales at fashion retailers edged down 0.7% year-on-year in July. Retailers reported tough comparative figures and a less promotional market, slightly restraining like-for-likes.
The more specialist retailers, however, generally outperformed those catering to the mass-market.
Overall like-for-like sales (excluding non-store sales) among mid-market retailers increased 1.7% during the four weeks to 27 July, compared to flat sales in the same period last year.
Growth has now been positive for the past five months. If the trend continues into August, it will be the first full six months of positive growth since 2010, BDO said.
Non-store sales continued to perform well, with sales jumping 31.5%.
Sophie Bevan, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: "While the overall fashion figures have taken a dip this month, the like-for-like data doesn't tell the whole story.
"The bigger picture shows that retailers are holding their resolve and responding to the upturn on the high street - and are confident that shoppers are more willing to pay full price for the right products."
This, she said, results in seasonal discounting being increasingly selective and planned. While in some areas retailers are seeing less sales volume, improving margins supports long term sustainable growth.
"There will always be ups and downs on the high street, which is sensitive to subtle changes - this is why the high street is considered a bellwether of the UK economy."
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