Business

Fashion sales wilt in September heatwave

Shoppers on Oxford Street Image copyright Getty Images

Clothing retailers on the UK's High Streets suffered badly in the face of September's unseasonably hot weather, according to a new report

Fashion sales fell in value by 5.9% compared with the same time last year, as shoppers shied away from buying autumn and winter stock.

Across all sectors high street sales dropped by 2.8% last month.

It was the eighth month in a row that the High Street survey, by business consultancy BDO, had shown a decline.

While sales of homewares rose by 12.6% last month and lifestyle goods, including gifts and health and beauty items, also edged up, that was not enough to make up for the negative impact of the heatwave on fashion retailers.

'Erratic weather'

"September was always going to be tough when compared against a strong September 2015, but retailers should take the erratic weather as a lesson in the importance of flexibility," said BDO's head of retail, Sophie Michael.

"When you look at individual performances, it doesn't take long to spot who has innovated and adapted their supply chains to be able to cope with unseasonal weather," she added.

For its High Street Sales Tracker, BDO takes weekly sales figures from 70 participating High Street retailers with about 10,000 stores in total, and compares the percentage change in turnover with the previous year.

In April it recorded its worst monthly result since early 2009, when overall sales dropped by 6.1% and fashion sales declined by 9.2%.

On Thursday, homeware retailer Dunelm said its sales had been hit by "unusually warm weather" in the three months to the beginning of October because fewer people had visited its stores.

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