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Retail sales fall to lowest in almost a year

October retail sales growth dropped to the weakest pace in almost a year according to The British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC said across the market, like-for-like sales grew just 1% against last October when like-for-like sales were up 2.6%. October’s growth is the weakest since the 0.5% reported in November 2006.

BRC senior analyst Joscelyne Hynard said clothing sales fell back below last year level despite seeing a boost in September. Womenswear was hardest hit because of the unseasonably mild weather. “This meant warmer outerwear and accessories sold well only on the few chillier wet days, with many [shoppers] having already bought them in the colder September. Jeans and knitwear often outperformed other areas,” Hynard said.

“Upmarket designer ranges remained strong and value lines and essentials showed some growth. Menswear was largely flat, with casual better than formal. Childrenswear was also steady, despite some good sales at half-term and Halloween costumes doing well,” she added.

After a good September, October footwear sales slowed to show their largest decline since May.

Hynard added. “Children’s footwear held up well, helped by half-term, but men’s and women’s were both lower than a year ago. As with clothing, top-end and value ranges fared better than middle-market.”

“The mild weather dampened demand for winter styles, but on colder days, women’s ballerina pumps gave way to ‘trouser’ shoes and ankle boots, and both high-leg boots and slippers had a good start for some. Men’s casual shoes and heavier boots often did better than smarter formal shoes,” she said.

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