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Clothing sales experience 'Boris bounce'

UK textile, clothing and footwear store sales increased by 3.9% year on year in the three months to January as consumer confidence grew after December’s general election. 

Total retail sales rose by 0.8% compared with the same three months in 2018, the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest retail sales figures show. However, they fell by 0.8% when compared with the previous three months. 

Online sales as a proportion of all retailing was 19% in January 2020, down from 19.3% in December 2019.

Although textile, clothing and footwear store sales increased year on year, they declined by 1.5% on a three-month basis. Department store sales rose 1.6% year on year, but decreased by 1.3% on a three-month basis. 

“Retail sales fell overall in the latest three months with declines across all sectors”, ONS head of retail sales Rhian Murphy said. “This was despite a rebound in January with strong growth for most stores.” 

Lee Lucas, principal at the Fashion Retail Academy, said: “With a new year, comes new hope for the high street as January brought a Boris bounce in clothing and footwear sales.

“It is likely consumer confidence grew after December’s landslide in the general election. Shoppers may still have felt the Brexit cloud hanging over them, but used the excuse of the first convincing Westminster win in years to storm the sales racks. 

“As the colder weather set in, the attractive discounts tabled in the January sales looked too tempting for consumers to pass up. The sector found itself on the frontline of the battle with economic and political uncertainty last year. These results mark a return to form for a sector that has clocked up seven consecutive months of no growth on a rolling quarterly basis for clothing sale volumes.”

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