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Note: This report summary is one or two months behind the current month as standard reporting practice. The content is indicative only and incomplete with certain data undisclosed. Become a member to access this data or take out a free 30 day membership trial now.
Clothing sales rose by 00% YoY in August. But this came against soft comparisons to last year (-12.3%). Sales remain down 3.4% on August 2019’s pre-crisis levels.
Total retail sales rose by 00% YoY in August, and 6.2% versus August 2019, according to the Retail Economics Retail Sales Index (value, non-seasonally adjusted).
August marked the first full month since all remaining Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in England. But rather than indulge in retail therapy, the removal of restrictions led many consumers to prioritise spending in hospitality and leisure venues (e.g. restaurants, pubs, hotels), with the knock-on effect of dampening overall growth in retail sales.
The pandemic has fast tracked the shift from formalwear to casualwear. This has led M&S to stop stocking suits across more than half of its 245 larger-format stores.
The boundaries between formal and casual wear are increasingly blurred, with consumers putting greater focus on “smart separates” (easy-to-wear, stylish clothing that can be worn for different purposes). Men, for example, are swapping suits for shirts and chinos.
Store-based sales have picked up as restrictions ease, but not at the expense of online. Bucking the trend seen in other sectors, online clothing sales continue to record positive annual growth (+1.7% YoY), despite strong comparisons from a year earlier.
Retail Economics research shows that over a third (35%) of UK shoppers expect to make fewer visits to clothing stores than they did before Covid-19.
As governments and businesses begin considering how to build back better after the pandemic, sustainability is set to play a major role. Global issues such as climate change and pollution are firmly under the spotlight, but there is also greater attention on unethical supply chain practices.
GfK’s measure of willingness to make major purchases slipped back into negative territory in August, while its savings index rose 5 points. This suggests that consumers are considering switching to saving over spending amid inflation concerns.
CPI inflation spiked by 1.2 percentage points on the previous month to 3.2% in August, marking the largest ever jump recorded since records began in 1997.
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Inflation soars to highest level since 2012
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Retail Economics publishes monthly Retail Sector Reports for the UK Clothing and Footwear sector giving you actionable insights for your business.
It provides in-depth analysis of the latest macroeconomic and consumer trends affecting the Clothing and Footwear sector including market size estimates for: Women’s Outerwear, Men’s Outerwear, Children’s Clothing, Women’s Footwear, Men’s Footwear, Children’s Footwear, Women’s Underwear, Men’s Underwear, Women’s Accessories and Men’s Accessories.