Fashion retailers have kicked off their summer Sales earlier than usual following a tough season in which milder temperatures hit demand for warm weather clothing.
The high street was awash with Sales this week, with Selfridges, Liberty and Topshop among those offering significant discounts of up to 50% as they look to combat sluggish clothing sales. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG, last month fashion sales experienced their deepest decline since September, with shoppers shunning many spring collections as a result of the cool and unsettled weather. Overall, UK retail sales were flat on a like-for-like basis compared with May 2014.
Some retailers told Drapers they had been forced to go on Sale early, after feeling pressure from those which had already started discounting.
One chief executive of a womenswear retailer said they had gone on Sale two weeks early. “We’re following the market. The [cool] weather has been challenging – it’s impacted footfall.”
Independent analyst Nick Bubb said: “I think most of the high street brands have gone a week early, reflecting tough trading. The mystery is Debenhams. I think they have sneaked in a “pre-Sale Sale” on fashion this week.” Debenhams kicked off its summer Sale online today (June 24). Its in-store Sale will follow this weekend.
However, Fat Face chief executive Anthony Thompson said it would hold off going on Sale for at least another five weeks. “We have a different sequence to other retailers. Summer is a key trading period for us.”