UK fashion sales soar in May

Fashion sales in the UK soared last month, falling just short of an all-time high, in what was the first full month of stores being open post-lockdown, new data shows.

Total like-for-like fashion sales jumped 83.3 percent last month compared to a baseline of -22.6 percent for May last year, according to BDO’s latest High Street Sales Tracker.

It marked the third consecutive month of positive total like-for-like fashion sales.

In-store like-for-like sales for fashion increased by 16526.2 percent in May, though that was from a negative base of -94.8 percent last year when the country was in its first national lockdown.

Online sales continue steady growth

Total like-for-like sales saw an uplift of 195.4 percent in May, though that was from a base of -18.3 percent for the equivalent month last year. Total in-store like-for-like sales increased by 12922.0 percent, but from a base of -87.1 percent in May 2020.

Despite the reopening of stores, total online like-for-like sales increased by 9.7 percent in May from a base of +129.5 percent last year during lockdown, with fashion sales doing particularly well.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said the “encouraging” results in May “suggest that the building blocks for a sustained recovery are steadily falling into place”.

“There is clear progress being made following the reopening of stores, with consumer confidence and retail sales approaching pre-pandemic levels,” she said in a statement.

“This is good news for retailers operating in discretionary spend sectors such as fashion and lifestyle, which were particularly impacted as a result of the lockdowns.”

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She also said the continued strength of online sales despite stores reopening “suggests that some consumer behaviours adopted during lockdown have stuck, illustrating the ongoing importance for a blended multichannel approach from retailers”.


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