Easter sales threatened by wet weather warning

Hopes for warmer weather and happy shoppers over the Easter weekend are in danger of being rained off, because bleak weather looks likely.

Despite hopes that the holiday weekend would be preceded by warm weather, the UK has been beset by grey skies.

'There is no doubt that the weather is an important factor for fashion,' said Dune managing director Daniel Rubin.

'Until we get warmish weather, women won't be encouraged to change into their summer wardrobes or sandalised footwear.'

Hobbs chief executive Nick Samuel said sales rose last week with the warm weather. 'We had a great few days. The weather makes a big difference week on week,' he said. The colder weather may chill fashion retailers into Sales to help clear stock.

'Fashion retailers always have mid-season Sales, but there is an exceptional amount of activity at the moment,' said RW Baird analyst Paul Smiddy.

Benetton has been advertising an Easter Bonanza, while Debenhams and JJB Sports have been offering 50 per cent off. Allders is also offering 50 per cent reductions in its 'biggest spring Sale ever'.

Shopper traffic monitor SPSL said the week to April 3 was particularly strong, with shopper numbers up 7.2 per cent year on year. It also said Easter footfall is likely to rise 3.2 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

- Easter special: page 16.