UK: Wet weather hits February fashion sales
London Fashion Week failed to boost sales for UK retailers in February, as consumers were left unsure whether to purchase flood appropriate clothing or newly launched spring lines.
According to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker, fashion sales declined 3.3% year-on-year in February - making this the hardest hit sector.
Overall like-for-like sales among mid-market retailers edged down by 0.9% as flooding decimated footfall at many stores.
However, non-fashion sales were up 2.4%, boosted by sales of wet weather gear and outdoor goods. Non-store sales jumped 37.3% - beating expectations.
"The January sales tend to condition shoppers against paying full price, but retailers have been noticeably bolder about protecting their margins this year and most have avoided continued, deep discounting into February," said Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO.
"Encouragingly this does not seem to have put consumers off."
Although the bad weather impacted footfall, he added, retailers have said those consumers that braved the elements were spending and conversion rates were up.
"We are also seeing the best retailers getting increasingly smart about the way they use real time analytics, big data and their supply chains to ensure the right stock is in shops at the right time, which is increasingly important as the seasons become less predictable."
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