Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Column: Autumn brings sales bonanza but will Christmas be crackers?

It seems that all that talk of doom and gloom was premature and fashion retailers are actually reporting a cracking start to autumn sales.

Trade has been boosted by the cold snap which hit just in time for pay weekend helping both the high street and independent retailers to a bonanza trading weekend last week.

We've all been out and about snapping up winter coats and chunky knits while women have gone crazy for the shoe boot or "shoots" as our fashion friends prefer to call them (some retailers tell me they're only on two weeks cover on most shoot styles). This week brought strong trading figures from John Lewis, Ted Baker and even Sir Philip Green's Bhs chain is running 3% ahead in like-for-like terms so it seems shoppers haven't locked themselves in a dark room to commiserate about the credit crunch.

But before we all crack open the champers let's not forget that it's a long run up to the crucial Christmas selling period. We've already experienced topsy-turvy weather this year. Retailers were beaming from ear-to-ear about sales uplifts during the scorching April but the rest of the summer was a washout defined by mountains of stock, massive discounting and a very big migraine for most retailers.

From 140 retail leaders who attended the Barclays National Retail & Wholesale conference in London this week, only 10% said Christmas spending would be down. The remainder predicted spending would be broadly in line with, or up on last year's reasonable results.

However retailers were cautious about prospects in 2008. Some 40% said that consumer spending had already been affected by interest rate rises, while a further 50% said the impact would soon be felt by their customers. 53% of Barclays' respondents predicted that the sector would be flat or contract during 2008.

So will this be the Christmas of the coat or will the youngsters be clamouring for an iPhone instead? I can't see us all waking up to just a clementine and frugal bag of nuts on December 25 though.

But one thing is for sure, all these gloomy headlines just seem to encourage my spending. After all what's going to cheer me up more than a defiant purchase of another new pair of boots from Kurt Geiger? It's for the good of our industry after all...

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.