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Fashion execs predict 4.7% volume decline

More than half of fashion and footwear executive believe sales volumes will decrease in 2009 according to a survey by fashion software specialist Prologic.

Half of those interviewed predicted that their sales volumes will fall next year as their prices creep up due to a rise in operating costs. The average level of sales slump predicted by fashion executives polled was 4.7%.

Developing and improving transactional websites also came out as a key strategy for fashion and footwear retail executives in the next year an industry survey has revealed.

Creating a multi-channel offer for a fashion retail business and enhancing any transactional website was considered to be the most important strategy for clothing brands and retailers. It came second only to a general focus on cost reduction across their entire business.

Of those polled 49% said website and e-commerce systems were top in their investment priority list over the next three years. International expansion was also a key priority for 30% of those surveyed when looking to grow sales.

The survey revealed that 80% of companies interviewed have cost reduction as their principal means of surviving the current economic climate. Despite this, 66% said they wanted to keep recruitment in their business at the same levels. replacing people leaving but not actively recruiting extra employees.

Taken in total, the retail executives quizzed in the survey represented a £5.6 billion slice of the fashion market (16% of total market) and have 5,214 stores. Most told researchers they saw online stores as a way of increasing sales and market share.

The report, which was commissioned by fashion software specialist Prologic and carried out by independent retail industry market research firm Martec, is the first in an annual investment survey by Prologic of fashion and footwear executives. Respondents were a mixture of chief executives, finance directors and IT directors.

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