Riots leave August worst month in salesWednesday, 07 September 2011
Fashion retailers experienced a tough month, with sales falling 2.4 per cent. This echoes concerns that the profit margins of value fashion retailers are suffering as the price of commodities such as cotton rises, and sales volumes fall.
Don Williams, head of retail at BDO, said the figures reflected the “self inflicted pain of the UK riots” as shoppers stayed away from trouble-hit high streets, noting the continued trend for rising internet transactions, which were up 40.2 per cent on a year previously.
“The UK consumer is still spending the same pound as last year, but inflation means they’re getting slightly less for it,” he said, adding that a low single-digit fall in sales volumes was “to be expected”.
Mr Williams believes many retailers have “over bought” and will now need to discount to get rid of unsold stock.
“If retailers bought with the expectation that volumes would fall, they will be able to discount and use promotions judiciously, rather than widely and deeply,” he added. “We are clearly in a harder for longer, for less, environment, and there will be winners and losers. In markets like this, if you’re rubbish, you will fail.”
Although the 2.2 per cent fall was nowhere near the record 10.6 per cent drop seen following the Lehman crisis in November 2008, retail analysts believe that a sustained restriction on spending rather than a steep decline and bounce back, may prove more damaging in the long term.
Image: London Riots