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Snow continues to put a freeze on trade

The heavy snow which has been falling across the country since the start of the year continued to disrupt trade for both independents and multiples this week, as staff struggled to get to work and customers avoided venturing out to take advantage of the January Sales.

Despite a bumper Christmas trading period for retailers, fashion sales slid 12.6% last week, according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker.

JD Sports Fashion chairman Peter Cowgill said the snow would dent the Sale momentum of high street shoppers. He said: “The Sale started well but we are not over the moon with the weather. That has killed the Sale mentality.”

Luke Lomax, assistant manager at young fashion indie Aspecto’s Manchester store, said: “We had a great Christmas but the snow has definitely affected things since. Footfall is probably 20% to 30% down. Our main delivery depot is in Manchester, so we haven’t had a problem with supply.”

One menswear multiple estimated it had lost between £300,000 and £400,000 in sales since the snow hit, while Marks & Spencer extended its refund deadline for Christmas purchases on goods bought between October 1 and December 24. Product can now be returned until January 30 rather than January 16.

James Watler, store manager at young fashion indie Repertoire in Southampton, which sells brands including Superdry, said: “Business has been down by about a half since the snow and it’s been a nightmare.”

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