The fashion industry is in negative growth for the first time in six years, as the high street struggles with retail failures and declining footfall.
Figures from Kantar Worldpanel show a 0.1 per cent fall in the spend on fashion goods such as clothing, footwear and accessories in the year to 5 June.
A quarter of the money spent on fashion (23 per cent) is now online, compared to just two per cent a decade ago. However, there is still a need for businesses to maintain both physical stores and online outlets; one in five items are bought from a retail park, and over half of grocery shoppers head to their main grocer for their goods.
Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: "The rate of growth has been steadily declining for almost a year now. Stores have become increasingly reliant on discounting and power has shifted into the hands of consumers who have come to expect discounts throughout the year and who are trained to shop during sale periods.
"Retailers are suffering from these shifting expectations – before its administration, discounting accounted for almost 60 per cent of BHS sales while French Connection and Karen Millen both sell only 37 per cent of stock at full price."
The fashion industry is still nursing its wounds after the collapse of big-name shops such as BHS and Austin Reed, and there are already signs the high street will take a hit in the weeks and months following the country's decision to leave the European Union.
The Springboard footfall index, which measures visitor numbers in shopping centres, retail parks and high streets, recorded an immediate drop after the EU referendum.
UK supermarkets were performing well in the immediate run-up to the EU referendum, but on a three-month analysis to the 19 June, Kantar found supermarket sales fell 0.2 per cent.
On the future of UK supermarkets, Shore Capital analysts said: "It is hard to see either confidence or house expenditure being boosted by the EU referendum.
"However, it is going to take time for matters to fully develop. What we can say is that if imported prices rise then the UK can expect to face some inflation and perhaps some gross margin compression for retailers.
"That said, with respect to sales volumes and values, we see the food market being more resilient than the discretionary segments."