Like for like sales at clothing and footwear indies were flat in the final quarter of 2010, as shoppers balanced their need to stock up on cold weather apparel with a desire to stay out of the wintry conditions.
According to new figures from independent retailers’ trade association BHF-BSSA, clothing and footwear retailers did not sustain the same level of growth as indies selling DIY, homewares and pet products, but they outstripped every other category, many of which saw double digit drops in their like for likes.
Overall, independent retailers in the South West and East Anglia saw modest increases in their like for likes, which were up 1.5% and 1% respectively, but sales fell in every other part of the UK. Wales, Scotland and the North East of England were the worst hit regions, with average like for likes down 13%, 9.1% and 8.5% respectively.
Michael Weedon, deputy managing director at BHF-BSSA, said: “Staying warm and dry, and keeping close to home, took precedence, for consumers, over hunting down seasonal treats or seeking to beat the VAT increase in a wintry December selling period. Clothing and footwear at least kept out the chill.”
Just over half (55%) of all independent retailers reported a drop in their like for likes, whilst 45% reported an increase.
Some 15% of respondents said the like for like figures did not reflect “normal trading circumstances” and 40% said they felt very of reasonably confident about 2011 trading. The remaining 60% said they felt “anxious” about the year ahead.