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Womenswear drags down September retail sales

Total retail sales edged up 0.4% on a like-for-like basis in September, but women’s clothing and footwear continued to struggle.

Non-food sales rose 0.5% between July and September compared with the same period last year, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. It did not give a further breakdown. 

“The shoe was truly on the right foot for children’s footwear, with the category leading the way in the month,” said Paul Martin, newly-appointed head of retail at KPMG. “No doubt timely in-store promotions helped to capture the attention of shoppers, while the August bank holiday, which fell into this month’s figures, also helped to boost sales.

“Sadly this success wasn’t mirrored for women’s clothes and footwear, with consumers seemingly uninspired by autumn collections due to warmer weather in September.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, added: “September saw the consumer confidence index restored to levels seen before the EU referendum in June which did translate into a willingness to spend on bigger ticket items.

“However, the monthly out-turn continues to highlight ongoing volatility in retail spending and to reflect longer-term economic headwinds as retailers begin to seek to mitigate the impact of higher import costs due to the fall in the value of the pound.”

She highlighted the BRC’s Brexit campaign, which is urging government to lower import costs, and avoid any increase in tariff costs.

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