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Retailers record improved sales and margins over Xmas

Mid-sized retailers enjoyed a decent Christmas with both sales and margins improved, according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, but fashion retailers had a tough final week run into Christmas because bad weather.

Total sales were up 2.4% for the members of BDO’s index, with fashion up 2.5% and non-fashion up 3.6%. The first two weeks of December were particularly strong with many retailers reporting double digit increases, but sales growth tailed off, particularly for fashion retailers, due to bad weather and department store discounting.

In fact, like-for-like sales of clothing for the week ended December 27 were down 4%. However footwear faired better with like-for-like sales up 1.8%over the same week.

BDO head of retail Don Williams said margins had improved as well as sales. “Full priced and new season stock was much more apparent this December with many stores trading with lower levels of discounted goods. While this had some negative impact on volumes, it did help drive an improvement in gross margins.”

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