Growth returns to the fashion industry after 14 months of decline

Helen Cahill
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Bottega Veneta - Backstage - Milan Fashion Week SS18
Retailers have been cutting down on discounts (Source: Getty)

The British fashion market has returned to growth after 14 months of decline and heavy discounting by retailers.

In the year to 24 September, the fashion market grew by 0.2 per cent, according to figures released today by Kantar Worldpanel.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics, published yesterday, showed clothing and footwear sales jumped by 7.2 per cent in September.

Read more: Pound drops against dollar and euro as ONS reveals retail sales slump

The annual growth represents an addition of just £66m to the market, however, Kantar said the industry was making progress by ending bad habits.

Market experts said retailers were driving growth by increasing full-price sales; the proportion of items sold at full price was up by two per cent in the period.

Full-price sales of clothing, footwear and accessories added £483m to the market since the same time last year, and discounting has fallen by 2.7 per cent.

Kantar said retailers were also starting to appreciate that selling clothes according to the season was not a water-tight strategy due to the changeable weather in the UK.

Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: "For years we've seen heavy discounting and this created an atmosphere of mistrust: consumers felt clothing wasn't worth its full price. Retailers have made a significant effort to address this by focusing on getting the value right from the off and as a result shoppers have more confidence in buying at the original price."

He said that retailers may well fall back into their old habits around Black Friday.

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