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Womenswear sales fall in November

Womenswear sales fell year-on-year in November despite a strong performance from menswear and kidswear.

While clothing and footwear sales outperformed the total retail sector during the month, womenswear sales lagged behind the category’s performance in the same month in 2009.

Footwear was the top performing retail category during November, driven by a strong performance from boots, with men’s and kid’s styles again driving the growth.

Despite the robust overall performance from fashion, shoppers remained promotions driven and cautious about larger purchases.

Christmas ‘delicately poised’

Total sales growth across all retail sectors in November was 2.8% compared with a 4.1% increase in November 2009, according to the British Retail Consortium-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. The figure was a 0.7% increase on a like-for-like basis. The figures were impacted by the adverse weather conditions towards the end of the month.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “With the final run-up underway, Christmas performance is delicately poised. Overall the extreme weather has dramatically undermined sales over the last 10 days. Retailers will be hoping disruption eases so that sales lost early in the month are made up over the next couple of weeks and not lost entirely. Booming internet sales alone are unlikely to make up sales shortfalls.”


Sales of clothing returned to growth after falling below their year-earlier level in October, but the performance was against a weaker November 2009.

Womenswear continued to struggle during the month with sales down year-on-year. Menswear and kidswear showed stronger growth during the month.

Consumer caution continued to dampen trade with consumers responding to discounts and considering larger purchases carefully.

Snow towards the end of the month drove sales of outerwear, knitwear, warm accessories and hosiery.

There was also a strong performance in partywear, bags and jewellery for some fashion retailers.


Footwear sales improved on a slow October. Men’s and kid’s footwear led the stronger performance but women’s footwear also showed strong increases, driven by strong demand for boots.

Ankle boots and Ugg-style boots were key performers and longer length boots also performed well.

Wellington boots also flew off the shelves when the snow arrived at the end of the month, particularly those which were patterned for women and kids.

Casual shoes performed better than formal shoes and consumers were promotions driven.

Department stores

Sales varied across stores and sectors. The cold end to the month helped winter clothing, footwear and accessories. Promotions boosted footfall but shoppers remained cautious about buying larger ticket items.

Multichannel sales

Non-food, non-store sales which comprises internet, mail order and phone sales rose 17.6% in the month.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Jessica Good

    and I thought I'd been propping up knitwear sales (especially legwarmers) all by myself!

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