Fashion retailers launched more promotions than planned in October as they sat on their winter stock and waited for the weather to turn colder, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG Retail Sales Index.
Clothing and footwear sales rose during over the month, as transitional items like light woollens sold better than heavier and pricier cold weather items.
“It’s a fine art to incentivise customers to buy high ticket items like a winter coat when they feel no immediate need for it. Retailers used all their skills, creativity and ability for fast reaction to achieve exactly that in October,” the BRC said. “This meant more promotional events than planned, even if they were flash Sales and targeted mailings.
“After two months of unseasonably warm weather, most fashion retailers are still sitting on relatively high levels of winter stock, holding their nerves in the hope of colder weather.”
The women’s segment recorded the slowest growth over the month, while children’s posted the strongest performance, helped by Halloween costumes.
October usually includes the peak week for the amount of boots sold, but not this year, the BRC said. Shoes outperformed boots and the month saw a record increase in the demand for sandals.
Overall non-food sales grew 1.9% on a like-for-like basis over the past three months, underperforming the twelve-month average of 3.7%.
“The good news is that overall retail sales continued to grow although not as fast as this time last year,” said BRC director general Helen Dickinson.
“Retailers have thought creatively about marketing solutions to incentivise sales of winter merchandise during the warmer weather. For example, the use of analytics has enabled loyal customers to be offered targeted flash reductions with sale items being made available both in store and online.”