LONDON — The British fashion market has declined for the first time since 2010, according to a report — based on pre-Brexit statistics — from Kantar Worldpanel.
The data show spending has decreased for clothing, footwear and accessories by 0.1 percent year-over-year for the past five years to June. The data reveal that stores are relying on discounting and shoppers are waiting for sales periods.
While the market has grown by 20 percent since 2006, the rate of growth has been declining for almost a year now, with retailers discounting merchandise and shoppers anticipating sales periods.
“Retailers are suffering from these shifting expectations,” said Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel. “Before its administration [or liquidation], discounting accounted for almost 60 percent of BHS sales, while French Connection and Karen Millen both sell only 37 percent of stock at full price. The problem is exacerbated by retailers overbuying and then needing to clear stock simply to make room for the next season.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
He said 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.”