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UK clothing sales rise despite retail down overall.

UK clothing stores saw sales volumes increase by 1.0 percent in December 2022 while the total non-food store sales fell by 2.1 percent according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of the United Kingdom.

The ONS interaction with retailers confirmed the notion that consumers were cutting spending due to affordability concerns. Compared with the pre-pandemic level in February 2020, total retail sales were 13.6 percent higher in value terms, but volumes were 1.7 percent lower. Retailers say that the increase in sales value was due to higher prices while the sales in volume were down.
Retailers do not see any turnaround but fear that the sales volumes would go down further in 2023 as consumers would be tightening household budgets. and heading into 2023 with less of a financial buffer. Surveys by various agencies reveal that 47 percent of consumers plan to spend less on clothing.

Retailers that managed to increase volumes squeezed their margins to the lowest minimum and the increase in volumes just helped to dispose of their stocks. Further price matching they say is not possible. Retailers experienced a nightmare during Christmas and the New Year shopping season to see major challenges ahead in sales of apparel in 2023.

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