Blog: Leonie BarrieClothing sales peel off as temperatures soar

Leonie Barrie | 12 August 2003

For all you non-Brits out there, the UK’s currently basking in a heatwave and, without wishing to rub salt into the wounds, I couldn’t have chosen a better time of year for a holiday. With temperatures on Sunday breaking the 100F barrier for the first time since records began, the English for once have a valid excuse for indulging in their national pastime of talking about the weather!

But talking about – and enjoying – it seems is pretty much all we’ve been doing. As winter ranges start piling into the stores, highlighting how ridiculously out of synch fashion seasons are, most people are more interested in sunbathing than shopping.

All of which is causing consternation for some retailers according to the British Retail Consortium. In July, sales of summer tops and T-shirts, sandals and sunglasses all soared it says, although many high-street clothing stores reported that customers simply stayed away from the shops altogether, preferring instead to head to the beach. Retail information group FootFall believes UK store traffic fell by as much as 7.3 per cent in the week to Sunday.

Another blow for retailers is that this warm spell couldn’t have come at a worse time: many are in the midst of summer markdowns to make way for their new winter lines, so any chance of making a reasonable return on their ranges has simply evaporated.

But it just goes to show that for all the sophisticated forecasting methodologies and software tools now at the industry’s disposal, freak weather conditions can put months of planning to waste.

As for me, I’m heading off for an ice cream!

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