Multiples and independents report a mixed bag of summer trading due to the “lousy” weather but are optimistic this will be offset by a strong autumn after a positive start to the new season.
Daniel Rubin, executive chairman for Dune, said: “Spring 15 was an OK season: up on last year but not as good as we would have hoped due to the weather. There was a big appetite for markdown sandals which sold through very well. Autumn has started well with encouraging sales of ankle boots, so I’m optimistic for the season.”
As previously reported by Drapers, many retailers – who suffered sluggish trade during last year’s mild autumn – kicked off their summer Sales earlier than usual this year, bringing forward their final clearance dates.
Consequently, clothing store sales in the week to August 16 were down 7.5% on the previous year, according to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker. Footwear sales edged up 1.4%.
One high street womenswear multiple said: “It’s been a funny season for everyone. We had a cold March and since then sporadic weather, but I think [trading] has been there or thereabouts. It’s certainly been a longer Sale period. I imagine there will be some overhang but nothing people can’t clear. People will be pleased to get into autumn.”
The managing director of one footwear chain said: “Trade is ticking away with a fair start to back-to-school. Spring was poor on the highly seasonable items as there was no real summer this year, especially up north. On the assumption that we do get reasonable winter weather, we think we will have a better second half than last year.”
Jigsaw chief executive Peter Ruis said: “Spring has been very successful, with like-for-likes in double digit territory and the cleanest sell-through we have ever had. Early autumn sales are following the same pattern and generally we are feeling confident for the upcoming season.”
Independent retailers said they kept orders for the spring season tight, leading to a good sell-through.
Garth Coverdale, director at premium independent Pilot in Leicester, said: “Summer was quite slow, but not too bad. We cut back on orders this season so we had less stock and sell-through has been decent.
“It’s not back to what it used to be as there is still tough competition from online discounters, but autumn has started well with strong sales of Replay jeans, Adidas sneakers and Vivienne Westwood formal shirts. We’re hopeful that this season will be better than last year.”
Julian Blades, owner of premium mini-chain Jules B, which has nine stores in the North of England, agreed: “We’ve staggered delivery and made sure we had the right amounts of the right product so sell-throughs were excellent; we had very little left despite the lousy weather. We’re taking the same approach for autumn so outerwear will come in much later and cash flow will be better. We are now in full autumn mode.”