Clothing and footwear indies saw a 4.7% drop in sales in the first quarter of 2011, accelerating the decline seen over the last 12 months.
According to new figures from independent retailers’ trade association British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), which was recently renamed from BHF-BSSA, clothing and footwear indies saw an average decline of 2.8% over the full year to March 31.
However, the some parts of the country still achieved modest growth. Independent retailers in the South West and East Anglia grew sales by 0.5% on average whilst Scotland saw an increase of 2.8%.
All other regions had declines. The Midlands and Wales were the worst hit regions, with average like for likes down 6.4% and 6.2% respectively.
Across all sectors 56% of the 271 retailers surveyed reported a lower performance for the three months whereas 44% reported a higher performance.
Many indies remained cautious about the outlook with 52% saying they were anxious about the year ahead. Conversely 42% said they were reasonably confident and 6% very confident.