Mild weather hits clothing
Central London retail sales in October were 2.3 per cent lower than last year, on a like-for-like basis, according to the London Retail Consortium.

'While sales in October appear no worse than in September, October's decline was against a weak comparative in 2004, so this fall is worrying,' said LRC director Kevin Hawkins. 'In October, London retailers also faced the same challenges as those in the rest of the UK, such as unseasonably mild weather affecting winter ranges and heavy reliance on discounts to entice value-conscious consumers. Hopefully, the next crucial weeks leading up to Christmas will bring some much needed growth.'

Customer traffic fell less in October than in August and September, compared with a year ago, but trade remained difficult. The weather depressed sales of warmer clothing such as coats and knitwear, in both menswear and womenswear, although some retailers experienced a sales uplift in the final, colder days of the month.

Price promotions were widespread across the sector and sales of products for the home remained difficult. London sales have been substantially lower than the rest of the UK in each of the past four months.