As many Brits brace themselves for yet more snow, sleet and ice this week, shoppers at department store Debenhams have been looking ahead to warmer months and snapping up new season swim and beach wear.
Sales of swimwear are up 51% compared to this time last year, with bikinis, swimsuits, beach hats and flip flops all being popular January purchases.
Many shoppers are snapping up their holiday essentials from the comfort of their own homes, with 80% of swim and beachwear purchases being made online over the past three weeks.
Said Debenhams Head of Women’s Accessories Buying, Amanda Wain; “It’s a surprising trend to emerge mid-January, especially in light of the recent bad snow and cold spell we’ve seen across the country.”
“The last thing you’d expect to be on the nation’s mind is teeny-weeny bikinis when in reality, everybody’s wrapping up warm in thermals, gloves and scarves to beat the winter chills!”
“We’ve seen reports that holiday bookings peaked in early January, so perhaps customers are planning their beach wardrobes ahead this year, and are buying as soon as they’ve booked their break.”
According to Virgin Holidays, holiday bookings in January 2013 are soaring with their busiest day for booking holidays up 40% vs. last year, as families and couples look to sunnier times in the year ahead, and want to plan their annual holiday in advance.
As well as families looking to the year ahead, many couples choose January and February to get away from the daily stresses of work and the cold winter weather, and book a sunny break for the New Year.
Phil Bloomfield, Spokesperson for Virgin Holidays added; “We have seen a surge in people booking sunshine breaks for later in the year recently.
“Families are booking early to ensure they get the best early deal, and many start budgeting and saving for their annual holiday as soon as the Christmas decorations are down.”
“Following in the footsteps of celebrities such as Simon Cowell, Wayne and Coleen Rooney and Alexandra Burke, holidays to the Caribbean and countries such as Thailand, Dubai and Australia are hugely popular this time of year, particularly with young couples looking for a post-Christmas getaway.”
Debenhams will continue to roll out further holiday shop products, including men’s, women’s and children’s swimwear, beach wear, flip flops, beach bags and beach towels in a bid to meet demand for these items so early on in the year.
Continues Michelle Dowdall; “We have seen the highest concentration of swimwear sales in the north of England, where the cold spell has been particularly bad.”
“Bikinis are also flying off the shelves in many of our Welsh stores and in south-west England, which is bizarre as these areas have had the worst of the snow over the past week!”
Debenhams is a leading international, multi-channel brand with a proud British heritage which trades out of 240 stores across 28 countries. Debenhams gives its customers around the world a unique, differentiated and exclusive mix of own brands, international brands and concessions.