Dec 3, 2021
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Fashion sales sprint ahead in November says latest BDO retail tracker

Dec 3, 2021

November was a ninth consecutive month of retail sales growth in the UK and fashion played a huge part in that, the latest BDO High Street Sales Tracker (HSST) showed on Friday.

Photo: Pixabay/Public domain

Total like-for-like (LFL) sales in-store and online increased by 32.1% having risen a weak 3.3% November last year, with the strongest results this time seen in the fashion sector.

Fashion LFL sales rose an incredible 51.3% in November, having gone into reverse by 5.7% this time last year. And BDO said there was strong growth throughout November “with a surge in activity in the middle of the month”.

The fashion strength was partly down to the fact of a full lockdown in November last year. But companies aren’t only catching up to lost sales with BDO adding that the recent disappearance of a number of prominent high street retailers “has also enabled the survivors to attract a higher proportion of spend from Christmas shoppers”.

Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said: “Many retailers brought forward Black Friday discounts to spread sales more evenly across the month rather than focus on a flurry of activity over the Black Friday weekend. This was, in part, an attempt to reduce bottlenecks and improve retailers’ ability to fulfil orders. Shoppers responded by bringing forward their Christmas purchases in an effort to ensure their goods were delivered on time.”

But she’s worried about the ability of the sector to keep up the frantic pace this month.

“Retailers are no doubt hoping that this momentum can be sustained into December, the final month of the all-important Golden Quarter”, she said. “However, with stretched supply chains and ongoing workforce issues, retailers will continue to be challenged, particularly when it comes to fulfilling orders. There’s also a danger that the new Omicron variant, combined with worries around the rising cost of living, could knock consumer confidence and reduce footfall in the last few crucial weeks before Christmas.”

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