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Fashion sales slide in February

High street like-for-like fashion sales slipped by 1.9% in the four weeks to 25 February 2018, as total sales declined for the fifth year in a row.

BDO’s monthly sales tracker found that fashion sales for the period had dipped further from a benchmark decline of 3.4% during the same month in 2017. 

Like-for-like fashion sales in stores have been in negative territory each February since 2013, the data showed.

BDO said: “Discretionary spend, particularly on homeware or fashion items, is continuing to be squeezed as consumers prioritise groceries, luxuries, treats, entertainment and leisure spending.

“Off the back of disappointing December trading, not offset by January’s slow growth, retailers are now navigating the pressure to continue to make essential investments in product, technology and experience, while in some cases managing falling sales, shrinking margins, rising rates and large estate portfolios.

“Under such a high pressure environment, it seems inevitable that the months ahead will see further high-profile casualties.”

In-store fashion sales hit a low in the fourth week, when fashion saw a 4.4% drop. This compares with a 4.5% decrease seen in the same week last year when the UK was hit by Storm Doris.

Total like-for-like sales were down by 1.6% in February, from a 2.2% decline for the same month last year.

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