Blog: Leonie BarrieOctober retail sales cooled

Leonie Barrie | 19 November 2012

Retail sales on both sides of the Atlantic cooled in October as shoppers cut back on purchases including clothing and footwear - although observers are confident spending will pick up in time for the holiday shopping season.

Retail sales volumes in the UK fell 0.8% in October, compared with the month before. Sales at textile, clothing and footwear stores tumbled 2.3% as consumer confidence dropped to a six-month low.

US retail sales, meanwhile, were battered by a number of factors, including Hurricane Sandy, economic worries and concerns over looming tax rises and spending cuts. October sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores were 0.1% lower than the month before.

But specialty clothing retailer Gap Inc raised its full-year earnings guidance after third-quarter profit surged 60% thanks to higher sales of new and revamped product lines. The San Francisco-based business said the results underscore its continued progress on key strategies - and that the next step in its transformation is to become a truly global brand.

And US-based online retailer and auction house eBay is setting its sights on fashion-conscious consumers in China after teaming up with Chinese luxury online retailer Xiu.com to launch a new eBay Style website. The site will feature up to 5,000 apparel, shoe, accessories, health and beauty brands.

Retailer Marks & Spencer has outlined some of the latest milestones reached under its Plan A ethical programme, including using sustainably sourced cotton in 900 products and saving 865 tonnes of clothing from going to landfill. The company also says 35% of the products it sells - over a billion items a year - now have a Plan A eco or ethical attribute.

And supermarket group Tesco is taking steps to boost productivity in the Bangladeshi apparel industry by investing in a new training centre to teach leadership skills and production techniques to garment workers. Tesco says it will contribute to the country's long-term competitiveness by improving conditions, pay and opportunities.

And a group of Hong Kong based buyers representing some 20 global brands and retailers has visited the country as part of a wider regional tour to explore sourcing alternatives to China.


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