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Discounting blamed for falling fashion sales in September

Fashion sales fell by 2.1% for the month of September with discounting dragging growth “into the red”.

Figures released in BDO’S monthly High Street Sales Trackers showed two strong weeks were “bookended” by poor ones as struggling retailers resorted to discounting in order to shift product.

Retailers that performed well in September protected their margins and resisted marking down prices. Instead they drew customers through the door with “carefully planned, eye catching promotions” such as Liberty’s beauty gift with purchase events.

Overall like-for-like sales, which incude fashion, homwware and outdoor sales were up 0.6%

Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said tough conditions were continuing to polarise the high street.

“The brands doing well are stealing market share from their rivals. September saw a game of nerve being played, with bolder retailers driving footfall and conversion imaginatively rather than resorting solely to price led promotion”, he said.

Williams added: “Retailers who continue to innovate, whether in product, promotion, service or operational efficiencies whilst adding a touch of theatre needed to get people across the threshold, either online or in the real world, are going to be successful.”

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