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Weather woes cast cloud on footwear selling season

Footwear retailers are calling for a change in the selling seasons to better reflect British weather, after the recent cold snap hit sales of spring 13 stock.

According to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker, like-for-like footwear sales fell 25.25% in the week to March 17, compared with the same week last year.

Retailers across the UK told Drapers how sales had been hampered by the weather, which has already caused the likes of Debenhams to report muted sales across the business.

Olivier Lievre, owner of premium footwear indie Olivier’s Lounge in Wandsworth, southwest London, said: “The last two weeks have been some of the worst I’ve known since opening the shop. No one is buying anything because it’s just too cold.”

Ian Paver, buying director of indie footwear chain Pavers, said: “When we get bad weather it impacts not only sales but also margin, as we have to sell more Sale stock instead of new product.”

A recent Drapers Brand Market Report of more than 100 brands showed just 30% believed the two-season model was still relevant.

Neil Steptoe, head footwear buyer at etailer Zalando, said: “The UK could do with a change. We should all sell spring/summer from April to September and autumn/winter from October to March.

“If the seasons were bought like that then there would be a lot less clearance on the UK high street and online.”

Tony Evans, managing director of footwear brand house Jacobson Group, added: “There needs to be a shift but even if things did move, it is the in-between months like March and October that still might prove tricky.”

A footwear buyer from one multiple added: “The weather is so unpredictable it is hard to know what to do for the best.”

  • Drapers’ Brand Market Report will be published in next week

Readers' comments (4)

  • Steptoe's comment's are spot on. Why does the trade in the U.K work completely out of sync with what the retailers want and what the public wants. It's ridiculous.

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  • Long overdue attention to this topic.
    Our brand follows a delivery schedule to cold and hot countries in Europe with northern European countries demanding earlier deliveries but it's perverse according to the actual climate and consumers shopping habits.

    Let's mimic seasonality and sales periods as Spain and Italy and extend the opportunity to achieve full price sales and protect margin.

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  • Remember that this time last year there were temperatures of 20+ degrees at this time and sandals were amongst the best sellers. It would be unwise to base a long-term decision on either of two years of weather extremes, one the warmest on record and one the coldest for several decades. Once January is over, the public starts to look towards spring. Despite the weather this year two very summery styles (one a blue suede loafer) have been our best sellers, even though we still have a small selection of boots and more wintry shoes available. There have been plenty of boots on the British High Street through until the end of February this year which feels about right, planning winter styles to sell for any longer involves too big a stock risk, with only a relatively small opportunity upside. Sometimes we have to accept that weather conditions will mean that people are just not interested in buying anything, too late for winter and too cold for new summer styles. They'll come through the doors when the sun shines and we need to be ready to take their money by offering great ranges and great service.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Remember that this time last year there were temperatures of 20+ degrees at this time and sandals were amongst the best sellers. It would be unwise to base a long-term decision on either of two years of weather extremes, one the warmest on record and one the coldest for several decades. Once January is over, the public starts to look towards spring. Despite the weather this year two very summery styles (one a blue suede loafer) have been our best sellers, even though we still have a small selection of boots and more wintry shoes available. There have been plenty of boots on the British High Street through until the end of February this year which feels about right, planning winter styles to sell for any longer involves too big a stock risk, with only a relatively small opportunity upside. Sometimes we have to accept that weather conditions will mean that people are just not interested in buying anything, too late for winter and too cold for new summer styles. They'll come through the doors when the sun shines and we need to be ready to take their money by offering great ranges and great service.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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