Independent fashion retailers have welcomed this week’s cold snap, relieved to be able to clear outerwear left unsold following the exceptionally mild weather in December.
Temperature across parts of the UK plunged this week, leading to a dusting of snow in some places. Kinbrace in Sutherland was -12.4C on Tuesday - the coldest temperature recorded in the UK so far this winter.
Despite the biting conditions, clear skies and dry weather delivered perfect shopping conditions.
High streets saw a 3.1% increase in footfall between January 10 and 16 against the previous week, according to research firm Springboard. Shopping centres also experienced a rise of 3.8% week-on-week, as did retail parks, up 4.4%.
This provided welcome relief for the high street, which experienced steady declines in footfall in December.
Sam Withall, owner of womenswear independent Sam Brown in Edinburgh and St Andrews, said: “It’s perfect conditions for selling outerwear at the moment because it’s really cold but it’s not raining so people are out shopping. Last week has harder because it was raining.
“We’re still in the January Sales period but we’ve also got about 20% new stock at full price, and people are dipping into that also.”
Russell Jones, director of Robinsons of Bawtry in South Yorkshire, added: “It’s great that we’re finally getting these temperatures because it means we can shift stock at full price rather than having to discount it later.”
However, he said trade had been slower than expected: “We haven’t had shoppers battering down our doors for coats. Perhaps it’s because it hasn’t been constant enough yet, so shoppers might be holding out.
”As soon as the initial surprise wears off, people will realise there’s still February, March and April to go, and I think we’ll see an uplift in outerwear and knitwear.”
Blair Daniel, manager and buyer at menswear indie Concept Clothing in Aberdeen, said: “Trade has picked up since it got colder and people are buying outerwear, but we’re in further markdown stage so I would have liked it to have come earlier to be selling at full price.
“Next year we’ll try to drop heavier pieces in November, so it’s fresh going into Christmas and people may even ask for bits as presents. That way we can discount a bit later.”
Last week the Met Office said 2015 was likely to be labelled the warmest year on record. Forecasts suggest 2016 is likely to be at least as warm, if not warmer.