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Homewares see sharp uptake in July while fashion plunges

Sales of homewares saw their first improvement in 12 months during July, according to the latest edition of the BDO Stoy Hayward High Street Sales Tracker.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Homewares see sharp uptake in July while fashion plunges

Sales of homewares saw their first improvement in 12 months during July, according to the latest edition of the BDO Stoy Hayward High Street Sales Tracker.

However, fashion declined steeply, reflecting the fact that consumers were reluctant to buy summer ranges given the unsettled weather. The change of focus towards new full priced lines also had a negative eff
ect, while uncertainty over the swine flu outbreak may have impacted footfall. In other areas, sales of non-fashion items grew modestly.

Overall, like-for-like sales across mid-market retailers retreated by 2.5 per cent in July compared to last year.

Don Williams, Retail Partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, said, “The strong rebound in homewares has certainly provided some long overdue good news for retailers in those sectors. However, fashion had a particularly difficult month due to a lack of “barbecue weather.” This supports our view that the recovery in consumer spending is patchy and by no means uniform. Retailers are having to work hard to achieve conversion on a day by day, week by week basis as there is a lack of clarity about demand going forward,” he concludes.

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Fashion: -4.2%

Fashion retailers saw takings fall during July, with like-for-likes sales down 4.2 per cent. Demand was reported to be soft in most areas with only a handful of stores bucking the general negative picture.

Non-fashion: +1.2%

Non-fashion like-for-likes increased by 1.2 per cent. Leisure goods and gifting were the strongest performing categories, helped by the start of the school summer holidays, while health and beauty underperformed.

Homewares: +1.2%

After 12 months of uninterrupted decline, homewares like-for-likes rose by 1.2 per cent. This is an excellent outcome, given the real weakness in demand last year did not start until September. Demand was up in most areas, with furniture and textiles the most positive, helped by movement in the housing market as well as generous discounts.

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