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Festive sales melt away in the snow

Jessica Brown

Unless you are aged five and own a sledge, a blanket of snow is not the sight anyone wants to be greeted with first thing in the morning. If you’re a retailer, the pain of icy roads and icy blasts is even more biting.

Unless you are aged five and own a sledge, a blanket of snow is not the sight anyone wants to be greeted with first thing in the morning. If you’re a retailer, the pain of icy roads and icy blasts is even more biting.

That the snow fell in the same week the big kick-off of Christmas shopping was expected is pretty typical of British weather, and its impact on sales has been significant. According to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker, clothing sales rose 0.4% for the week ended November 28 - they had been trending towards 5% or above in previous weeks.

Some high street chains were unable to open certain branches - Bluewater shopping centre was one of the most high profile locations to suffer - because staff couldn’t make it to work. Not that there were many shoppers around to serve of course. Meanwhile, indies suffered even greater pains, particularly those with destination shops in more remote locations, as consumers opted to stay at home in the warm.

Some retailers did benefit though as sales of winter boots accelerated (BDO recorded a 13.2% lift in footwear sales last week) and knitted accessories like gloves and scarves heated up.

But we now need a thaw to last through to December 24 if the forecast for a good fashion Christmas is to stay on track.

Separately, pictures of Tom Ford’s long-awaited womenswear collection were published this week (to see it go to www.drapersonline.com and search for ‘Tom Ford’). It is Ford all over, with echoes of the handwriting he honed while at Gucci, but having seen the clothes

I can’t quite see why he was so precious about holding back the photos. They’re beautiful yes, but apart from a leopard-print maxi there isn’t much for the high street to rip off here.

Jessica Brown Editor

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