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Fashion indies see sales slip

Nearly two-thirds of the UK’s indies experienced a sales decline in the first three months of the year, according to figures published today.

According to the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) fashion indies were hit particularly hard by the bad weather in the first quarter, with sales slipping 9.38%.

In the three months to March 31, just under a third of independents (32.97%) reported a higher performance, while 5.4% reported no change.

Of those surveyed half (50.82%) said they were “reasonably confident” about the year ahead, with just 3.28% saying they felt “very confident”.

A further 45.90% said they felt anxious about the year ahead.

Bira deputy chief executive Michael Weedon said the weather was repeatedly blamed for poor trading.

“In common with most of retail the majority of respondents describe very inclement conditions for trade,” he said.

Almost all regions and sectors suffered, with the North West seeing the greatest drop - 15.76% - while Northern Ireland and the South East/London recorded declines of 8.92% and 8.20% respectively.

The Midlands was the only region to buck the trend, posting growth of 0.84%.

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