Wet weather forces people online for their new season wardrobe

by | Mar 22, 2024

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Rain on umbrella
  • Online sales jump by the most since last July when wet weather also kept people indoors
  • Clothing sales jumped 1.7% as new collections and promotions tempted consumers to refresh wardrobes
  • Overall retail sales were flat as food, fuel and household goods saw declines

Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, comments on the latest UK retail sales figures:

“No surprises that February’s downpours kept people off high streets and tucked up in their dry living rooms. But consumers were tempted by new season collections and turned back to online shopping to expand their wardrobes. 

“Just like last July the proportion of online sales shot up as shoppers made the most of promotions to add a splash of spring colour to their working attire, even if winter remained firmly entrenched outside the door. 


“After a few tricky months clothing retailers needed a win and those that have toiled to create must-have pieces at a price point that works for their buyer will be feeling a kind of fuzzy relief. 

“It wasn’t all good news and those gains for virtual department and clothing stores were offset by falls in food and fuel. 

“Half term was a washout with parents reluctant to bundle up boisterous kids and ferry them long distances to expensive indoor activities, plumping instead for a delivery of new toys or an extra streaming service. 


“And people are still under pressure, they are still carefully considering how they spend what little cash they have left after covering the essentials like keeping the lights on. 

“Next’s boss might be convinced that consumer confidence has reached a seven-year high, but his retail empire has been cleverly crafted to deliver just about all things to all people whether they want to buy in store or online. 

“Things are improving slowly but the next barrage of bill increases is just around the corner and wage increases, tax cuts and falling inflation won’t mitigate those completely. The retail sector is likely to remain volatile for months to come as people continue to feel less well-off and more vulnerable to shocks.” 


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