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Mid-market retailers see good start to September but underlying demand still sluggish

It was a reasonably good week for mid-market retailers with sales remaining marginally positive (+0.8 per cent) for the second week in a row figures from BDO Stoy Hayward’s High Street Sales Tracker for the week ending 6 September reveal.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Mid-market retailers see good start to September but underlying demand still sluggish

It was a reasonably good week for mid-market retailers with sales remaining marginally positive (+0.8 per cent) for the second week in a row figures from BDO Stoy Hayward’s High Street Sales Tracker for the week ending 6 September reveal.

Non-fashion: +5.8% Non-fashion retailers saw takings rise strongly for a second consecutive week, driven by solid demand for leisure, gifting and some outdoor related products. A late surge in back-to-school demand also provided a short-term boost in some
areas, especially stationery.

Fashion: -0.5% Sales drifted back into negative territory, with the new season boost from fresh autumn/winter ranges offset by fairly weak underlying demand. Lifestyle and youth orientated stores fared best, while footwear retailers also had a good week. In contrast, formalwear and lingerie underperformed.

Homewares: -3.6% Breaking a three week winning run, homewares retreated below levels witnessed last year. However, demand in many categories held-up reasonably well, with cookwear and home accessories putting in a strong performance.

Non-Store: +46.8% Non-store sales continued to grow, although down slightly on last week, with clothing and footwear leading the way.

Don Williams, Head of Retail at BDO Stoy Hayward, says: “It was a reasonably good week for mid-market retailers with sales remaining marginally positive for a second consecutive week. A late upturn in back-to-school trade helped boost non-fashion demand, while the start of the new autumn season, coupled with good stock availability, provided a boost for some fashion retailers.

However, this positive picture was by no means universal. A good number of fashion stores did not report any upturn, with scant evidence of a material pick-up in demand. In homewares, sales fell back below levels that were seen a year ago, but still remained relatively strong.” he concludes.

Sales this week last year

Results generally showed an improvement this week last year as higher footfall levels, in addition to good seasonal weather, boosted sales in many areas. Non-fashion rose especially strongly (+10.9 per cent) while fashion was flat. However, homewares (-6.9 per cent) decreased steeply.

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