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Discounts clear stock for footwear multiples

Footwear multiples have said discounted stock is “clearing well” as high street multiples begin to draw their summer Sales to a close.

John Lewis finished its clearance Sale on July 19, while other multiples including Marks & Spencer and BHS were offering final reductions of 70% this week. Next stuck to its guns and launched its Sale on July 18.

Within the Sales, footwear is outpreforming clothing. Footwear sales were up 8.6% for the week to July 19 while clothing dropped 2.8% year-on-year, according to accountancy firm BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker.

Daniel Rubin, executive chairman of Dune, which is currently running a 70% off promotion and is “gradually coming off Sale”, said: “The Sale has been strong, with ladies sandals selling particularly well, the late arrival of summer has had a lot to do with this. Men’s and accessories sales continue to be strong and we’ve had a good reaction to the new season’s product.”

The managing director of another large footwear multiple said: “We are trading quite nicely against last year, with high single digit growth. Sale stock is ticking away nicely. We will come off full Sale in about three weeks’ time. Sport is doing well for us and it’s generally good all-around apart from highly seasonable sandals and canvas, and it was a particularly bad season for jellies. Oxford Street is still harsh, but apart from that the rest of the UK is ok.”

David Short, managing director of Macintosh UK, which owns Jones Bootmaker and Brantano, currently offering 70% and 50% off respectively, added: “Stock is clearing pretty well although a burst of hot weather would help tidy up some of the high season products. We will run a Sale in store through to end of August, but the emphasis switches strongly to back to school in the next week or two, with fresh windows and TV advertising kicking in on Brantano to signal the change.”

BDO also said a number of footwear and clothing retailers have reported seeing better uptake of full-price goods “while the last of the discounts begin to fade”, which has helped to keep margins healthy.

Mike Shearwood, chief executive of Karen Millen, agreed, saying the business has “very little” of its 70% off Sale stock left to clear and shoppers are now looking for newness.

“We put the final mark down products out on Monday [July 20] so we’ll gradually move that back and bring the new season stuff forward. We don’t have a lot of Sale stock left and most stores have started to turn, bringing in more transitional pieces. New season is selling very well.”

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