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Mixed trading for retailers over bank holiday

Clothing and footwear retailers have reported a mixed bag of trading over the bank holiday weekend, with the high street faring better than retail parks and shopping centres.

The UK’s high streets saw a 4.4% increase in footfall year on year over the bank holiday weekend (May 23-25), according to data from retail research firm Springboard. However, footfall in retail parks was down 4.2%, bucking the trend of strong growth to date this year, and footfall in shopping centres fell 3.1%.

The managing director of one footwear multiple, which has a strong presence in retail parks and on the high street, said: “Footfall was down in retail parks, although the high street was not that much better. We are up against some great weather last year whereas this year has been largely cool and damp – quite a contrast – and sales have been subdued as a result.”

Menswear retailer Luke, which has nine stores in shopping centres and one in Bristol city centre, reported mixed trading over the long weekend.

Sales in its Birmingham Bullring store were up 11% year on year, while Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock, Essex, was up 10%, according to managing director Simon Poole. But trading in St David’s shopping centre in Cardiff was “poor” throughout the three days and footfall at the Trafford Centre in Manchester disappointed on the Saturday.

Beth Morgan-Henderson, commercial manager for footwear business Pavers, which has more than 100 high street and retail park stores across the UK and Ireland, said: “It was quite quiet over the bank holiday. We had a 10% promotion on, but that didn’t really penetrate. It was the start of half term so perhaps a lot of people were on holiday.”

However, managing director of concessions business Hallett Retail Wendy Hallett said sales were beginning to lift following the brighter weather over the weekend. “It’s looking better. Everyone knows it has been tough on clothing in April and the beginning of May, but the bank holiday was ok by all accounts.”

FatFace chief executive Anthony Thompson also sounded a more positive note: “After a softer few weeks where we have suffered against warmer weather last year, it was good to see a reasonable, dry bank holiday, and business picked up. Patience – the sun will come out at some point.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • It has been a very difficult season for many retailers as the trade's insistence that the summer season starts in January is looking every more ridiculous. Lots of brands will be seeing reduced orders or being dropped completely in overhyped trading conditions.

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