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British fashion market witnessing steep decline
Oct '16
The fashion market in the UK has suffered its steepest decline since 2009, which is driven by falling frequencies of buying, reveals the data collected by an insight and consultancy company. The market has been witnessing a decrease in sales for the last four consecutive months and has lost close to £700 million compared to this time last year.

The results are derived from data collected over a period of 52 weeks by Kantar Worldpanel, a global expert in shoppers’ behaviour. The fashion market contracted for the first time in 6 years in June 2016, with a 0.1 per cent fall in sales growth, said the company.

Retailers are dealing with falling sales by decreasing their investment in their lines, instead of acting on it in a proactive manner. The company suggests that retailers should understand their customers and fulfil their demands, rather than chasing after micro trends.

“Fashion retailers are still following the same patterns of over-buying and deep discounting and consumers are increasingly reluctant to pay full price. Retailers have responded to falling sales by investing less in their lines, when what they need to be doing instead is addressing these problems more proactively. Rather than chasing after the same ‘micro trends’ as every one of their competitors, they need to work on understanding what their customers really want and to fulfil their needs,” said Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.

“Most recently the decline has been driven by falling frequencies of buying, giving retailers fewer opportunities to encourage shoppers to part with their cash. As such, they need to ensure that stock availability is as high as it can be - online and offline - and that the shopping experience is based on what the customer actually wants, not what the retailer thinks they should experience,” added Tooke.

The company has not taken into account the closure of BHS, a retailer that was worth over £400 million which closed down in August. If this amount is not reapportioned throughout the market, the decline is likely to continue.

“Only ten of our top fashion retailers are worth more than the £700 million which the market has lost, so this decline is equal to one of them disappearing from our high streets. Given the events of this summer this no longer seems impossible,” continued Tooke. (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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