Cool weather dampens fashion sales in May

UK sales slowed in May as demand for summer fashion suffered from unseasonal weather, an industry survey has revealed.

The British Retail Consortium said total sales were up 1.1% against a 2% rise in May 2014, but on a like-for-like basis, sales were ‘disappointingly’ flat compared to last year.

The clothing and footwear categories were amongst the worst performing, reporting their deepest declines since September.

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Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 9.9% in May versus a year earlier, when they had grown 17%.

British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson said: "May witnessed a slow-down in sales growth, below the three-month and twelve-month average. This was mainly due to fashion sales, which experienced a decline compared with the same month last year, where we saw record demand.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at the report’s co-authors, KPMG, commented: "With Easter distortions behind us, May’s retail sales figures were disappointingly flat."

"Footwear and fashion sales wilted against strong performances last year as consumers put off the summer wardrobe refresh as they waited for the unseasonably cool May weather to improve. Many retailers stretched out summer sales events and deepened discounts in order to try and entice consumers through the door.

Looking ahead, McCorquodale said June may be a tough month of comparables for some with the start of the 2014 World Cup in June last year boosting sales in certain areas.

“However, with consumer confidence nearing pre-crisis positivity, retailers will be hoping that the improving job market, low inflation rates along with a dollop of summer sunshine will provide a welcome boost,” he added.



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