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Bank holiday trade blows hot and cold

Jessica Brown

August might have been the worst month for footfall since Christmas, but the bank holiday weekend does not appear to have been a total washout. Shopper numbers were up a touch
over 3% across both Saturday and Sunday, which will come as a relief to the many retailers who reported shocking business earlier in the month.

While high street discounting will have brought out the usual bargain hunters, there were mixed trading reports from indies this week, and surprisingly few of them still refuse to open over the long weekend.

However, most felt that the weather, which was warmer in the south than the north, had contributed more significantly to their uplifts or downturns than the department store discounting seen at Debenhams and Marks & Spencer over the weekend.

At least two retailers I spoke to reported record weeks, largely thanks to the back-to-school season, which was winding up as Drapers went to press.

Footwear specialists selling kids’ shoes seem to have benefited from there being fewer players in the market this season, especially as parents still refuse to compromise on kids’ shoes. Meanwhile, value retailers and supermarkets also saw uplifts on kidswear as shoppers again prioritised price. However, George at Asda’s quality guarantee promise on uniforms this season should see the back-to-school war step up another level next year.

Whatever your bank holiday trading report, the kids’ footwear specialists and mass-market uniform retailers prove that cornering a market goes a long way to helping you trade through adversity.

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