Fashion retail performance slips away in July

By Petah Marian

Clothing lost its title as the best performing category in July, falling to sixth place, according to the latest British Retail Consortium figures.

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor said clothing had a disappointing month due to fewer promotions in July compared to last year, while others cited the warm weather as the driver of respectable summer clothing sales, as they were suitable to wear both at home and abroad on holiday.

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The women’s segment outperformed the men’s and was helped by the popularity of branded fashion.

Those retailers that have developed their new season ranges to be more suited to the warmer weather have seen some consumers favour their full-price offer over summer sale items, the BRC said.

Overall UK retail sales were down 0.3% on a like-for-like basis from July 2013, when they had increased 2.2% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 1.3%, against a 3.9% rise in July 2013. The three-month average total sales growth, 1.3%, is below the twelve-month average of 2.3%.

“The tale of two sectors continues with polarisation between food and non-food. While non-food retailers had a stellar month, surpassing even last year’s record sales performance, the grocers saw sales tumble in value as their competitive pricing continued,” said KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale.

“Fashion retailers are enjoying a better summer, even against tough comparatives that included a heat wave, royal baby and a British Wimbledon champion, and many have avoided the price cutting sprees seen last year. There was even a bounce back in furniture and household spend following a softening in June.”

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