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Fashion declines for first time in six years



Fashion declines for first time in six years

The British fashion market has witnessed negative growth for the first time in six years. Figures to the 52 weeks ending 5 June 2016 have revealed a fall in spend on clothing, footwear and accessories of 0.1% year-on-year as the high street sees a number of high-profile casualties and retailers’ tactics to stimulate growth lose their appeal.

Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, comments: “The rate of growth has been steadily declining for almost a year now. Stores are becoming increasingly reliant on discounting and power has shifted into the hands of consumers who have come to expect discounts throughout the year and who are trained to shop during sale periods.

“Retailers are suffering from these shifting expectations – before its administration, discounting accounted for almost 60% of BHS sales while French Connection and Karen Millen both sell only only 37% of stock at full price. The problem is exacerbated by retailers over-buying and then needing to clear stock simply to make room for the next season.”

Supermarkets hold a 10.1% share of the fashion market while almost a quarter of fashion spend – 23% – now happens online, compared with just 2% in 2006. While the fashion market has grown by 38% to £36 billion over the past decade, average annual spend has only increased by £10 in the same time, to £767.

Glen Tooke continues: “In the short term we can expect to see market growth waver around zero but this first decline in almost seven years will be a real wake-up call for retailers and brands. In a highly competitive marketplace, they both need to be much more nimble and responsive to the “new” consumer.

Loyalty is a thing of the past and with the market witnessing such drastic change over the past decade, stores and brands can no longer rely on doing the same things for the same shoppers again and again. Two-fifths of consumers say that clothing being ‘on trend’ is not important to them yet brands and manufacturers are continuing to sacrifice quality, fit and price for trend-led products, and we’ve witnessed a number of high-profile retailers come under criticism for doing so.”

Kantar Worldpanel’s research has also revealed that despite online shopping’s growth, more fashion items – one in five – are still bought from a retail park, while over half of all grocery shoppers buy clothing, shoes or accessories from their main grocer too. Meanwhile, media-savvy shoppers are likely to spend more on fashion each year – the 16% of womenswear shoppers who have Instagram spend an average of £200 more than those who do not.

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Fiona Keenan

Business Unit Director, Health and Beauty


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