While overall shopper numbers have increased by 228,000 in the 52 weeks ending 3 June, the fashion market declined by 0.4% over the same time – the eighth consecutive period of flat or negative growth.
The last time the British fashion market experienced more than one month of growth in a row was two years ago, in June 2016.
Two thirds of clothing, footwear and accessories sold in the past year were at full price, though the value of these sales fell by £443m. Discounted clothing grew by £303m in the same period though both full price and discount items saw declines in the number of units sold – down by one million and 31 million respectively, showing that discounting is not increasing the amount that shoppers buy.
The analysts warned that struggling retailers should not resort to discounting as a first option. They said that as shoppers had been “trained to wait” for sales to start, heavy discounting was not having the desired effect in driving spend or footfall.
Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Despite the current challenges, customers are starting to return to the fashion market. However, shopping frequency is down by one trip per year, which makes a significant difference across the whole population.
“Turning this around will be the next big test for retailers. Unless things change, our current market projection suggests a 1% decline in the market this time next year, which equals around £350m.”