Blog: Weather falls in line with the seasons

Petah Marian | 16 October 2012

UK retail watchers last week breathed a collective sigh of relief as the weather finally begin to cooperate with the fashion seasons, with demand for clothing and footwear helping to lift retail sales growth by 1.5%.

The colder September gave clothing retailers a "major boost", with consumers stocking up early on coats, boots and knitwear, according to the BRC/KPMG sales monitor.

Burberry's first-half results also offered some relief as the luxury brand recorded an improvement in like-for-like sales after it had earlier issued a profit warning at the 10-week point of its second quarter. CFO Stacy Cartwright said that while footfall was down, its more "aspirational luxury customer" has been harder hit by the economic environment.

Speculation about where former Marks & Spencer general merchandise boss Kate Bostock would land was also laid to rest last week, with her appointment as executive director of product and trading at online clothing retailer Asos.

Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing again signalled its ambitions last week, saying it expects sales to top JPY1trn in 2013, as it continues to aggressively pursue growth outside its Japanese home market. The announcement came as the company recorded a 31.8% increase in full-year income to reach JPY71.6bn.

However, the news for Australian surfwear brand Billabong was less positive, as private equity firm TPG Capital withdrew its AUD1.45 per share bid for the company last week.

Meanwhile, Puma revealed in its latest Product Environmental Profit and Loss findings that the environmental impact of its biodegradable InCycle Basket shoe was 31% less than its conventionally made Suede shoe. However, costs were offset by higher import duties on the biodegradable plastic used in the product. Chairman Jochen Zeitz wants governments to reduce import duties on synthetic materials in an effort to encourage the manufacture of greener shoes and clothing


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