Clothing and footwear booked record performances online in April

Clothing and footwear booked record performances online in April

A sunny April helped UK clothing and footwear sales rebound after a "dire" autumn/winter season, with the two categories putting in record performances, according to new figures.

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor monthly report found total UK retail sales fell 1.3% year-on-year in April, compared to the same month last year, when they increased 5.7%. Like-for-like sales dropped 2.4%, down from growth of 4.2% last year.

But clothing sales rebounded, BRC said, with online showing strong growth. Women’s clothing was the best performing segment, while children’s naturally declined due to fewer school holidays than last year.

Footwear climbed from last place in the rankings table last month to second place in April. The sunny weather helped sales of sandals mainly, as well as canvasses and ballerinas.

Both stores and online experienced growth and this was generally achieved with less promotional activity than last year, BRC added.

Online sales of non-food products grew 15.4% versus a year earlier, when they increased 11.2%. Clothing and footwear achieved record performances, with the former growing at its fastest rate since BRC records began, while footwear achieved its best online growth since December 2012.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said the sunny weather drove demand for spring/summer clothing and footwear, with consumers also taking advantage of Easter sales to bag a bargain.

But Conlumino analyst said Maureen Hinton warned: "The raft of early sales and discounts across many clothing retailers points to sales gains being at the expense of margin."