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Half-term lifts fashion sales

Like-for-like fashion sales rose 0.4% for the week to February 22, boosted by the half-term holiday.

The slight rise in sales followed two consecutive weeks of double-digit falls, according to figures from BDO Stoy Hayward.

The increase was driven by strong demand for younger fashion ranges, as well as better weather stimulating demand for new spring product, according to BDO Stoy Hayward.

However, the rise was not universal, with some fashion retailers reporting a dip in sales.

Other retail sectors did not perform as well, and total retail like-for-likes were down 0.6% over the week.

Rupert Eastell, head of retail at BDO Stoy Hayward, said: “The first full week of normal spring weather saw retailers post mixed results. Overall, like-for-like sales marginally decreased, with fashion the only sector witnessing higher sales assisted by stronger footfall levels due to half-term falling later this year.”

“The milder weather was also helpful in stimulating demand for new spring ranges. In other areas the majority of stores did not see any upturn. Non-fashion sales reverted back to negative territory, while homewares remained down by double-digit levels. In general there were widespread reports that consumers are continuing to favour value ranges in almost all areas, with demand for big-ticket items weak.”

Eastell added: “For the same week last year the non-fashion sector (+7.4%) was the only area to experience growth helped by strong demand for gifts and beauty products in the run up to Mothers Day. In contrast, fashion sales were beginning to show signs of stress with takings down 4.3%, while homewares reported its weakest performance for six months with sales down 16.2%.”

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