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Poor weather kicks off autumn sales

High street shoppers headed straight to the autumn rails of black garments and showed little resistance to higher-priced product, according to multiple retailers who have seen an early take up of new stock thanks to the poor weather.

A selection of autumn ranges began trickling through onto the high street last month, as retailers began coming out of Sale.

High street retailers told Drapers that the autumn trend for tailored womenswear, particularly in outerwear, helped to push up average spend. They added there was a clear return to black.

New Look trend director Barbara Horspool said: “Black has taken over and is working well when teamed with brights. We are seeing a move toward more confident pieces because people want a reason to spend their money. We have to offer value whether in detailing, fabrication or interpretation of trend.”

Hobbs chief executive Nicky Dulieu said that of the autumn product that hit Hobbs’ shop floor four weeks ago, tailoring had started strongly. “Our bestsellers so far are those items at slightly higher price points. Black is strong, but there is a desire for colour as well,” she said.

At Oasis, deliveries of autumn product began in June and the early customer reaction to styled leggings, 1980s-style print dresses, sequin details and leather jackets had been positive, while grey, black and magenta were standout colours.

Oasis creative director Nadia Jones said: “This autumn customers will still be careful with their money. They may spend longer deciding what to buy and quality and value for money will be really key.”

Meanwhile, the Met Office revised its forecast of a “barbecue summer” this week, saying August would remain changeable.

Robert Bready, product and trading director at etailer Asos, added: “Autumnal weather over the past few weeks has kick-started the season. The boyfriend blazer, sequins and shoulder pads are the standout directions we have been seeing.”

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