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Fashion sales slip in May

Like-for-like fashion sales for the month of May fell 3.6% compared to last year, as mixed weather and slow footfall dampened sales.

Sunny high street

Sunny high street

Sunny high street

Fashion has posted negative monthly like-for-likes in four out of the five months for the year to date, the BDO High Street Sales Tracker indicates. Sales were down in the first three weeks of May, before bouncing back with the better weather in the last week of the month.

A decline in footfall and slowdown in sales for the first three weeks of the month points to a slowdown in consumer spending on retail in May, which is linked to a rise in inflation of 2.7% in April, said Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO.

“The Bank of England has predicted that inflation on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) would continue to rise in coming months. Such economic conditions are inevitably leading to discounting. Yet discounting indefinitely is unsustainable in a climate where retailers’ margins are being squeezed by many factors. In navigating the turbulent months ahead, retailers will be challenged to uphold product value, promote strategically, and maximise the opportunities that the summer will bring.”

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