Fashion like-for-like sales fell 1.1% in March, despite the overall upward trend in retail sales for the month, but the good weather boosted demand for spring clothing and footwear.
According to the BDO Stoy Hayward High Street Sales Tracker, overall retail like-for-like sales increased in March for only the third time in the last 12 months, with like-for-like sales up 1.3%.
Within fashion, seasonal clothing and footwear performed best, while sales of formalwear, accessories and lingerie were weaker.
BDO Stoy Hayward head of retail Rupert Eastell said: “After a dismal February and very difficult trading conditions on the high street, retailers reported surprisingly robust results in March. Underlying demand was much higher than we expected, and sales appear to have been bolstered by the driest March weather for six years.”
“It is clearly premature to classify these upbeat figures as a definite recovery trend. However, there are signs that demand is holding up and not contracting as sharply as we feared last month.”
“Another good month of sales during April will be essential to the future of UK retailers - particularly as Quarter Day [last month’s rent payment date] will still be fresh in many people’s minds. Retailers will be hoping that this sunny, dry weather continues well into the Easter period,” he added.