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Swimming overtakes shopping - well, in summer

by Petra Dillemuth , 20.10.2015

It started well – and ended badly: The 2015 summer season was a huge success for owners of swimming pools and ice cream parlors, but not for textile and fashion retailers. Soaring temperatures in August more than melted the positive results achieved in the first two summer months.

The three summer months of June, July and August were an almost exact mirror image of the same months of the previous year. In 2014, strong sales in August made up for the poor turnover achieved in June and July. In 2015, however, tropical weather in August caused the positive results of the two previous months to decline. With lots of summer items on sale, traders were still managing to draw in customers in June. When record temperatures hit in July and August, however, sales quickly plummeted. Summer sales failed to drum up much interest and autumn products in the shops in sweltering August didn't pull customers through the door either. The result: Sales in the last summer month of August slumped into the negative double digits, not only in shops, but also in the normally successful online world.

The super summer of 2015 did not have the same impact on all products. Worst hit was hosiery. Women's outer garments were also in the red. Men's clothing and shoes fared better, but still only just managed to break even. Accessories averaged a plus, albeit this was only due to the sharp increase in average prices. Sportswear enjoyed great success.

This summer, we saw different customer target groups display completely different buying behaviors. Top earners splashed out considerably more money for new trousers, shirts, blouses and shirts than last year. Even the over 50s were willing to reach deeper into their pockets for new outfits, with women in particular showing great interest in shopping for fashion. New fashion failed to tempt both men and women in the middle-aged group, however. This buying behavior stood in complete contrast to that of those in their 20s. While young men spent around 20 per cent more on shirts, trousers and jackets, etc. this summer than in the same period last year, young women spent around a fifth less on clothes. This was ultimately one of the reasons why womenswear performed much more poorly than menswear.

It was not just customer buying behavior that differed this year – different sales channels also experienced changes this summer. Non-specialized trade even managed to boost its sales slightly. The overall decline in the fashion market was solely due to specialized trade. Multi-label and large young fashion chains were hit particularly hard. The latter suffered in particular from the lack of sales from females in their 20s. Value retailers and textile discount stores offering products for rock bottom prices ended the summer slightly in the red. Single-label manufacturer stores experienced a somewhat sharper decline in sales, as did department stores – although they were able to significantly increase their price level. Chain stores specializing in private labels, on the other hand, achieved positive results. Online traders also experienced an – albeit more modest – plus, despite the disastrous month of August. Most traders are positive about future autumn sales. After all, they only have to top the poor figures achieved last year.

Contact Petra Dillemuth at petra.dillemuth@gfk.com to find out more about market size, market development, product proportions, price ranges, and target groups.