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Analysts deliver upbeat 2014 forecasts

Analysts predict a rise in revenues across the fashion sector amid a rosier outlook for retail in 2014.

The upbeat forecasts come hot on the heels of ‑ gures from insight company the Local Data Company, which reported that shop vacancy rates across the UK dropped below 14% in December for the  first time since July 2010. The rate fell to 13.9% last month, down from 14.1% in November.

Analyst Verdict Retail is expecting revenues across the UK clothing and footwear sector to rise 2.8% to £47.3bn in 2014. “It will be a slightly more positive year but we are still expecting consumers to be cautious,” said senior retail analyst Honor Westnedge.

She added: “Quality and value for money will be key. People are more likely to buy fewer but better quality purchases as they look for something that will last. Retailers who will invest in their in-store environment and those who really focus on their product will be the ones that will do well in 2014.”

Cantor Fitzgerald investment analyst Freddie George said a planned IPO from House of Fraser and the potential listing of Fat Face could boost spirits in the retail market. “I don’t see a huge uplift but there is a bit more con‑ dence now,” he added.

But Nick Hood, business risk analyst at Company Watch, warned of overcon‑ dence, saying “there will be rather more losers on the bottom line”.

“Those who have got it right will prosper and those who haven’t will find it very di­ cult. The fact the ecommerce sphere is getting stronger doesn’t mean people have any more money to spend.

“Consumers have fashion retailers by the balls. They are all dancing to the tune of the consumer’s song.”

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