Warmer weather lifted the mood across UK high streets this week and some multiples reported a welcome upturn in trading, but others said it was “too little too late” to make a significant difference to sales of summer stock.
Bognor Regis high street
Temperatures soared to 35°C in the south-east of England on July 19, making it the hottest day of the year so far. The rest of England and Wales reached temperatures of 30°C, while Scotland hit 29°C and Northern Ireland 28°C.
Jigsaw chief executive Peter Ruis said there was some uplift following the summer sunshine: “We had a decent week and the good weather will not have hurt, but it’s hard to say, as the comparatives are really hard to judge during a Sale period.”
Daniel Rubin, executive chairman of footwear retailer The Dune Group, said trade had “certainly picked up in July” and the weather was a big factor.
The chief executive of one womenswear multiple said: “It has been a great week for us. We are up on last week and last year, the good weather has definitely increased footfall. The summer stock is clearing well and we’re also seeing a good uptake on our light, transeasonal autumn pieces which are full price, which is interesting.”
The buying director of one high street footwear multiple said: “Over the last two weeks, which included Eid, we are up on last year. I’m reasonably happy, especially with all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.”
However, he added that the warmer weather had come too late in the season to make a big impact: “It’s like a fall of snow at the end of February – people will make do with what they already have. Hot weather in April is fantastic, as people will invest for the summer months ahead, but not so much in July.
“That said it does improve the mood on the high street and [for footwear retailers] helps clear out your sandal stock, so you’re going into autumn lighter, which is a good thing.”
One high street womenswear supplier said early discounting in the season has left many retailers with a shortage of summer stock: “The problem is that the retailers panicked and marked summer product down early, so they have little or no stock left to sell, while others have already launched autumn.”
Another supplier for the value market echoed this: “It’s too little too late for most as they are already getting the autumn stock in and all the summer product will now be selling at a massive discount, which isn’t great for margins.”
Online sales of clothing improved in June, the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index showed, rising 18% year on year despite the uncertainty surrounding the European Union referendum result. Sales of footwear sales reached a five-year high, up 34%, while lingerie and accessories were up 41% and 46% respectively.