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Shoppers defying traditional trends, John Lewis retail report finds

There are no longer “clear-cut trends” in fashion, as age-related stereotypes and seasonal timing become less important to shoppers, John Lewis’ first retail report into consumer behaviour has revealed.

The research, published today, found that older shoppers have become increasingly daring in their fashion sense and dressing to suit their lifestyle rather than their age.

John Lewis’ head of womenswear Jo Hooper told Drapers: “It’s about reinventing looks. There are 20 different trends in the market place at any different point and it moves very fast. Staying close to your consumer is very important”.

The research identified a trend of younger women in their 20s and 30s choosing styles more traditionally worn by their mothers and grandmothers.

Among the group which John Lewis describes as the “Young Old-fashioneds”, elegant fashion items and accessories from 1920s are becoming increasingly popular, inspired in part by this year’s hit film The Great Gatsby.

Among these items are patterned square silk scarves which saw a sales increase of 24% in the 12 months to August 2013 compared with the same period a year before, and pearls which increased by 10%.

The findings are part of the How We Shop, Live and Look report which was based on 12 months’ worth of customer insights and sales data, stacked up against the previous year for comparison.

The report also says that shoppers are being less affected by seasons than in the past, with a more immediate attitude among women in particular who are less inclined to wait until the traditional points of the year to buy certain items.

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