UK: Retailers enjoy "robust" March fashion sales
UK fashion sales grew 4.3% year-on-year in March
Increased consumer confidence, helped by good weather and a strong uptake of new season lines, resulted in "robust" fashion sales for UK retailers in March.
The BDO High Street Sales Tracker found fashion sales grew 4.3% year-on-year in March, with strong performance across the board. Footwear sales in particular appeared to stand out, with consumers stepping out of their winter boots into warm-weather shoes.
Overall like-for-like sales among mid-market retailers increased 3.2% - making this the strongest March for four years. Pent-up demand also boosted like-for-like sales in the homewares and lifestyle sectors, which rose by 2.1% and by 2% respectively.
Non-store sales also performed strongly, up 34.2% year-on-year.
"Retailers who have held their nerve on discounting have reaped rewards as the weather has improved, selling healthy volumes of new stock at full price," said Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO.
"This momentum will serve them well as we head into the Easter holidays, which should register strong like-for-like growth given that Easter fell at the end of March last year."
The figures, he added, also suggest footfall is no longer as reliable an indicator as it used to be.
"Quality retailers offering consumers what they want - great products, great customer service, omnichannel buying options and flexible delivery - are able to protect both volumes and margins, despite fewer people physically visiting stores."
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