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Don't blame it on the sunshine

As the classic disco hit suggests, it would be unfair to single out the glorious weather we had over the Easter bank holiday weekend, or indeed the good times, for the current trading conditions - in truth a combination of these factors has led to a bumper few days for UK fashion retail.

As the classic disco hit suggests, it would be unfair to single out the glorious weather we had over the Easter bank holiday weekend, or indeed the good times, for the current trading conditions - in truth a combination of these factors has led to a bumper few days for UK fashion retail.

The weather and the celebratory mood of a pre-royal wedding nation have played their part, with retailers telling Drapers that shoppers were out in force over the long weekend. Understanding the factors that affect consumer confidence is key to unlocking spend in a volatile and unpredictable market. Many customers are holding back, unsure about the future, and even the smallest factor can dent their confidence.

This fear factor is a retailer’s worst enemy, so events that bring the nation together, like the forthcoming wedding, are an important opportunity. Fashion retailers should look to capitalise not only on the extra bank holiday shopping, but also in the longer term on the overall improved mood of the nation.

An event like this celebrates our British heritage and it is likely the feel-good factor will extend beyond the wedding. Retailers would therefore be advised to keep the Union Jack flying (figuratively of course) well into the summer and beyond, with consumers being made to feel they are not only supporting their nation but helping to turn around the economy by spending in British shops, investing in British-made goods and brands.

As we went to press the sector was gearing up for the wedding weekend in style - see p5 for some of the more inventive in-store ideas - and holding its breath for the first sight of THE dress. Kate’s choice of designer will set the tone for the summer. The only real concern is whether the forthcoming nuptials will encourage people to party rather than shop - but if that happens we really will be able to blame it on the boogie.

Caroline Nodder Editor-in-chief

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