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Bank holiday boosted by back to school

Autumn stock helped boost retailers’ bank holiday trading – although weather dampened spending in parts of the country.

Back to school products gave retailers a guaranteed decent weekend – as evidenced by John Lewis’ 11.8% surge last week.

Indies also saw strong sales in kidswear. Lee Morpeth, director of Adrian Morpeth Footwear in Knaresborough, said sales on the Saturday “were up 60% on last year”, largely due to the “great [sales of] back to school shoes”.

Oliver Hope, manager of Denis Hope, in Rochdale agreed it was his “new Autumn stock that’s been selling”

A post-Olympics boost also helped trade in some parts of the country. Andy Swain, manager at Real Clothing in Nottinghamshire, said: “I don’t think anyone has had a great summer with the recession and the Olympics but this weekend it has definitely picked up. The past two weeks have been slow, but this last week we’ve probably been three times as busy.”

However, he noted that heavy discounting was eating into overall profits. “It doesn’t help that at this time of year we’re always doing sales, so the margin’s not great,” he said.

However, retailers in the north of England were “curtailed by the rain” according to Stuart Hurst, owner of Charles Stuart in Lytham, Lancashire. Crosby-based Encore also struggled according to director Paul Woods. “The weather has played havoc with trading recently,” he said. “New stock for autumn/winter has been moving but this bank holiday weekend still wasn’t very busy.”

But not everyone saw downpours this weekend. Peggy Raymond, assistant at Cadogan’s retailers in Winchester, told Drapers: “It’s been very sunny this last week, so the customers came out shopping.”

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