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New Collections Boost February UK Clothing Sales After Repeated Falls

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Spring collections and promotions contributed to a UK clothing stores sales volume rise of 1.7% in February, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics after repeated declines in previous months.

UK clothing sales benefitted from the launch of new spring collections and promotions in February. Credit: Shutterstock.
UK clothing sales benefitted from the launch of new spring collections and promotions in February. Credit: Shutterstock.

The ONS said non-food stores sales volumes (the total of department, clothing, household and other non-food stores) rose by 0.7% over the month to February 2024, but fell 0.5% over the year.

However, it also highlighted that most of the increase within non-food stores was because of a monthly rise of 1.7% within clothing stores, following recent monthly falls.

UK retail sales volumes (quantity bought) were estimated to be flat (0.0%) in February, following an increase of 3.6% in January 2024 (revised from an increase of 3.4%).

Meanwhile online sales saw the largest increase in sales since July 2023 as wet weather affected footfall.

UK clothing sales enjoy uplift in February

Clothing retailers in particular reported strong online sales while department stores and household goods stores were the only two subsectors where sales values fell over the month.

This monthly increase in online sales led to a rise in the proportion of sales made online, from 25.1% in January 2024 to 25.7% in February 2024.

Silvia Rindone, EY UK&I Retail Lead highlighted that clothing sales volumes saw a level of growth and suggested the launch of new spring collections and promotions contributed to this with sales volumes in department stores and other non-food stores seeing growth of 1.6% and 0.4%.

However, she added: “After a strong month in January, food sales fell by 0.3% in February, with poor weather cited as the reason for a drop in store footfall.

British Retail Consortium’s director of insight Kris Hamer blamed February’s wettest weather on record for dampened demand and depressed footfall: “This was felt most in the more high-ticket categories such as furniture and electricals. Meanwhile, cosmetics and toiletries continued to sell well as popular brands go from strength to strength. Retailers are hopeful that with warmer weather and potential interest rate cuts around the corner, consumer confidence will soon spring back.”

CI&T’s director of retail strategy Melissa Minkow pointed out that with inflation set to fall 3.4% and warmer weather on the horizon the UK retail sector should brighten up in the next few months. 

However, she was quick to add: “We shouldn’t expect an immediate and significant shift in spending behaviours. Consumers will likely remain cost-conscious for the foreseeable future. Many of us have adapted to the aggressive discounting a lot of retailers have put forth and will be on a constant hunt to maximise value with strategic shopping.

“Retailers that communicate real value and extremely resonant assortments will be the ones to convince consumers to spend outside of their typical brands and react to this change in inflation.”  

BRC’s Hamer stated a strong retail industry is essential for boosting investment in towns and city centres, and has urged the next UK Government to address the high and rising cost burdens that retailers face, now and in the future: “These include April’s 6.7% business rates rise, ill-thought-out recycling proposals, and new border control costs – all in the context of the largest rise to National Living Wage on record. Without action, these costs continue to hold back investment in shops, in more jobs and lower prices across the country – meaning it is the consumers who ultimately pay the price.”

Nick Delis, senior VP of international and strategic business, Five9 encourages retailers to use AI to transform the way they approach customer service moving forward.

He believes there are many opportunities for retailers to look forward to now that spring has sprung in the UK, but stated: “Only with AI-driven, data-rich insights will retail brands be empowered to take a truly proactive approach to their customer strategy, one that puts them ahead of the competition.” 

January’s ONS figures showed the continued higher cost of living accompanied with weak consumer demand dampened sales with milder temperatures hitting winter clothing and footwear hardest.

Source from Just Style

Disclaimer: The information set forth above is provided by just-style.com independently of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com makes no representation and warranties as to the quality and reliability of the seller and products.

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