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Fashion sales falter in March despite footfall boost

High street fashion sales fell 0.8% in March, despite a springtime boost to footfall throughout the month.

The latest information from the BDO sales tracker indicates that overall high-street sales were flat during March, marking the fourth month in a row that sales have failed to grow for retailers. Fashion sales were down 0.8%, which is better than the 3.4% drop in sales during February. The fall this March is compared with a 2.5% drop during the same period in 2016.

The fall in sales comes despite an increase in footfall, which was up for three out of the four weeks of March, peaking at a 5.2% increase, thanks to warmer weather during the month. Shopping centres and retail parks experienced particular peaks during the third week of the month, in which footfall was up 5.9% and 7.8% respectively.

The head of retail and wholesale at BDO, Sophie Michael, said to The Times: “The new season should have triggered high street spending, and retailers will be questioning why they have been unable to convert shoppers into buyers.

“As inflation is beginning to be felt against a backdrop of economic uncertainties, it is ever more important that retailers focus on product, quality and range. Retailers will have to go the extra mile to differentiate their products and stores.”

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