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Fashion sales up in May despite overall retail slowdown

Fashion sales increased by 1.2% in May comared to the previous month, bucking an overall fall across all retail sectors, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) out today (June 19) reveal.

Shopper spend on clothing and footwear was also up year-on-year, with sales volumes and spend both up by 4.2% compared with May 2013.

Online fashion sales continue to outstrip store performance. Sales of clothing footwear were 17.6% higher in May this year than in 2013.

Across retailing as a whole, poor performance in the grocery sector - which saw sales fall by 2.4% on the month - caused an overall monthly fall in volumes of 0.5% compared with April.

But there are still positive signs that consumer confidence is increasing, backed up by an overall year-on-year volume increase of 3.9% on May 2013, and analysts have pointed to the exceptionally high sales increase in April as a factor for this month’s more modest performance.

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking managing director for the retail sector, Keith Richardson, said: “After reaching a 10-year high in April, it’s not surprising to see that May’s figures are more subdued. Consumer confidence can be fickle and although shoppers are still spending, they continue to be highly selective about their prospective purchases.  

“It was another disappointing month for food and grocery retailers. Although the prolonged discounting campaigns are good news for consumers, they continue to have a detrimental impact upon retailer’s margins and share price”.

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