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Autumn sales off to an early start

The wet, miserable weather has delivered a much-needed boost to fashion retailers with autumn sales of coats and knitwear kicking off earlier than usual.

Retailers told Drapers that September sales had started well, providing some welcome relief on the back of a dreadful August in which clothing sales remained below the levels of the previous year according to the British Retail Consortium because of unseasonal weather.

Peacocks managing director Tim Bettley said autumn trading had started early. "A combination of back-to-school footfall and bad weather has made shoppers buy into autumn earlier than usual. We’ve had a good reaction to the ranges," he said.

The boss of one womenswear retailer added: "Footfall has flattened out but our average transaction value has gone up. We’ve had a very good start to the season and the poor weather has helped. We’re selling lots of coats and long boots, which we’d normally sell in October. It’s going to be a boot season and we haven’t had one of those for the past two autumns."

The finance director of another middle-market chain said shoppers had responded well to new stock, but questioned whether this would continue to be the case. "A lot of retailers have seen a material increase on the back of new product, but how long will that last?"

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