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Fashion sales hit by tough comparatives

Fashion sales fell 2.5% on a like-for-like basis for the week ended May 17, according to the High Street Sales Tracker from BDO Stoy Hayward.

Total retail sales fell by 1.5% on a like-for-like basis over the week.

BDO Stoy Hayward said that the fall in fashion sales was partly because of very tough comparatives from last year when the weather was warmer.

“High profile discounting by some large department stores probably accounted for some of this lost trade, while strong prior year comparisons also dragged down results.”

Rupert Eastell, head of retail, BDO Stoy Hayward

It added that demand for premium clothing and footwear ranges had weakened while young fashion stores had also struggled. Discounting at the department stores also affected sales for some. However BDO Stoy Hayward said that more positive news came from some specialist niche brands.

BDO Stoy Hayward head of retail Rupert Eastell said: “With a new set of figures confirming that unemployment is continuing to climb steeply, a dose of reality (as well as rain) hit the high street this week. Overall, like-for-like sales decreased by 1.5%, representing a second consecutive week of negative growth.”

He added: “Fashion results were generally disappointing, while homeware sales dropped steeply. High profile discounting by some large department stores probably accounted for some of this lost trade, while strong prior year comparisons also dragged down results. However, there is a sense that consumers are continuing to cut back in some areas as unemployment concerns increase.”

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