Poor fashion performance weighs on UK retail sales
Sales at fashion retailers fell 1.9% in November
A poor performance by UK fashion retailers in November dragged down overall retail sales, despite the sales boom caused by Black Friday at the end of the month.
According to BDO's High Street Sales Tracker, like-for-like sales at fashion retailers fell 1.9% year-on-year in November.
Widespread discounting in November last year, particularly amongst fashion retailers, meant retailers struggled to match sales volumes in 2014. And with footfall in the biggest weekend of the month being diverted to retail parks as consumers hunted for Black Friday bargains, traditional high street fashion stores suffered.
Overall like-for-like sales (excluding non-store sales) edged down 0.2% for the four weeks to 30 November, compared to a 1.3% rise last year. Non-store sales enjoyed an impressive 25.6% gain.
Sophie Bevan, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said although Black Friday provided "exceptional" sales for many retailers, sales in the weeks leading up to Christmas could be hit as a result.
"This was a trend noted in 2013 and, given the bigger scale of Black Friday 2014, December sales force retailers into further discounting," she explained. "Coupled with a quiet autumn on the high street, many stores will still have stock to shift, and we expect to see steady discounting continue in the run up to Christmas."
She later added: "The factors that will make or break the Christmas season are more likely to be convenience and customer insight. Consumers will want confidence that they will receive their goods on time and this will make the role of transport and logistics all the more important."
Among the key trends expected for the retail sector in 2015, BDO points to retailers continuing to adopt new ways to extract and manage data, click & collect growth, and increased reliance on in-store technology.
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