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Fashion sales drop 3.4% in May

Like-for-like fashion sales dropped 3.4% in May as retailers held fewer promotions and faced tough comparisons with last year.

Seasonal womenswear performed best, with summer ranges performing better at the end of the month thanks to good weather. Footwear and formalwear were the worst performing categories.

Overall, like-for-like retail sales dropped 1.5% in May following better than expected sales in March and April.

However, the sales dip was a relatively robust performance considering the economic climate, according to BDO Stoy Hayward’s High Street Sales Tracker.

BDO Stoy Hayward said that this year’s May figures were up against tough comparisons with May of last year, which was the strongest month of 2008.

BDO Stoy Hayward head of retail Rupert Eastell said:”Despite some tentative signs that the economy is starting to improve, retailers are still finding life on the high street especially tough, particularly as concerns about unemployment continue unabated.”

“However, it’s not all doom and gloom as we’re seeing retailers who stock compelling products are still in demand. Great products, coupled with warmer weather have meant that many retailers are continuing to outperform the poor expectations assumed at the start of the year. Although we still believe demand may fall back again in the coming months, and would caution against calling the bottom of the market, these results bode well for the remainder of 2009.”

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