Clothing lost its title as the best performing category for UK sales in July, falling from first place to sixth behind furniture, toys, homeware, stationery and house textiles, according to the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor.
Several retailers told the British Retail Consortium (BRC) that clothing and footwear had a disappointing month due to fewer promotions this July, compared to last year.
But others said the warm weather had driven respectable summer clothing sales. Those who adapted their new season ranges to be more suited to the warmer weather saw some consumers favour their full-price offer over Sale items last month.
Womenswear outperformed men’s, helped by the ongoing popularity of branded fashion. Kidswear was the best performer in the clothing category in July.
Footwear saw its largest year-on-year decline since May 2013, falling from fifth to ninth place (out of 10) in the overall sales rankings, ahead of food. Some footwear retailers attributed the weaker sales growth to a lack of summer season stock, which sold out in June’s end-of-season Sales.
Again, children’s footwear performed ahead of both women’s and men’s, aided by back-to-school sales.
Overall, retail sales in the UK were up 1.3% on July 2013, the growth driven by an upturn in furniture spending and other non-food purchases. Like-for-likes fell 0.3%.
Food was the worst performing category, experiencing its deepest three-month average decline since the records began in December 2008.
Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “This July we have achieved overall growth of 1.3% year on year, which at first glance compares unfavourably with the 2.3% long-term rate over the last 12 months.
“However, July last year was a tough month to beat because consumers responded well to high-profile sporting events and the birth of the royal baby.”