Sales of women's wear have risen by 3 per cent in the latest season, continuing to boost overall sales of clothing and footwear as prices hold up and people snap up the new ranges in the shops.

According to the latest industry figures from UK-based market information specialist FashionTrak, men's wear has not enjoyed the same impetus as the women's market, with high street sales down on last year. 

For women, the new season's fashion trends range from flirty dresses and florals, to bold abstract patterns and exotic ethnic looks. This is reflected in increased sales for skirts and dresses on the more feminine side, with casual jackets, T-shirts and jeans continuing to drive the more relaxed look.

In particular, the high street fashion chains, discounters and supermarkets benefit from their ability to quickly replicate the wide range of fashions seen on the catwalks at affordable prices.

TNS FashionTrak figures show significant sales growth in these sectors, with expenditure up 7 per cent, 5 per cent and 9 per cent respectively, this season.

In line with this season's look, accessories are seeing good growth, with sales up for scarves, belts and costume jewellery (up by 12 per cent this season).

Fiona Bell, business director of TNS FashionTrak, says: "After lacklustre Christmas sales, the strong growth seen in women's wear at the start of the spring/summer season is encouraging.

"Retailers will now be hoping for a continuation of the recent good weather to further boost spending."

For men, the TNS FashionTrak figures show that men are opting for the convenience and value offering from the Supermarkets, spending a dramatic 11 per cent more than last year.