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Clothing sales decline for the first time since March

Total clothing sales for October fell for the first time since March due to the “unseasonably warm weather” – the only retail category in decline that month.

According to the British Retail Consortium- KPMG online retail sales monitor, sales decline for the four weeks to October 26 across women’s, men’s and kidswear. Online clothing sales remained in growth, although dropped into single digits for the first time since March.

Declines came as a result of unseasonal weather, with discounts driving purchases, particularly within womenswear, as there was still a “sense of caution” in consumer spending.

Footwear also saw its worst month since March, although online sales pushed it into growth territory.

Warm temperatures benefited flat shoes but led to a decline in the sale of higher priced boots. As a result, some retailers brought forward their mid-season sales compared with last year.

KPMG’s head of retail David McCorquodale said: “October was another difficult month for retailers reminding us that recovery is a slow, relentless slog. Retailers will struggle to maintain a sustained sales recovery until wage growth outpaces price inflation.  While confidence may lead consumers to browse, it’s cash that’s needed in the tills.”

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