Combined clothing and footwear sales in Sweden fell by 2.4 per cent in March 2002 compared with the same month last year according to the Swedish research institute Trade Handelns Utredningsinstitut (HUI).

Within this overall trend there were marked differences between the two product categories: clothing sales fell by 4.5 per cent while footwear sales rose by 9.3 per cent.

In the first quarter of 2002, consolidated sales of clothing and footwear fell by 1.8 per cent year-on-year; clothes were down by 2.7 per cent and footwear up by 3.6 per cent.

Mikael Sandstrom, chairman of Sweden's Association of Footwear and Clothing Retailers Sko-& Textilhandlarna, said sales were hit by the early timing of the Easter holidays. He expects sales to rise again in April 2002.