Good early summer weather helped fashion retailers put in their best performance since last November.
Sales by clothing retailers in the 12-week rolling period to June 21 fell 2%, TNS Worldpanel Fashion data reported in the Daily Telegraph showed.
The decline was the lowest since the 12 weeks to November 2008. Womens’ and childrenswear performed well, underpinned by sales to the under-25 age group who have been least affected by recessionary conditions.
Menswear sales fell 5% however. A decline in the sportswear market had an impact.
In the 24 weeks to April, TNS found that the market hit its “highest ever” level of discounting. About 36% of all clothing items sold were reduced in price in some way.
TNS said: “Full-price sales declines have slowed but are not expected to return to growth in the near future as discounting looks set to continue throughout 2009.
“In particular, the flexibility of pricing in the websites and the rise in use of online vouchers has led to 42% of items bought online being at a reduced price and over a fifth of online shoppers only buying when they can get a discount.”