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Online clothing sales a winner over Christmas, says Mastercard

Lauretta Roberts
08 January 2018

Sales in online clothing grew 13.7% year-on-year during December, according to the latest SpendingPulse figures from Mastercard.

SpendingPulse accounts for all spending in the UK, including cash and card payments, and shows that overall clothing sales were up 1.3% but that growth was clearly driven by online's strong performance.

The figures also confirm spending trends reported elsewhere which suggest that Boxing Day lost out to Black Friday as shoppers had already snapped up their bargains in the end of November discounting bonanza.

Overall retail spend during December was up 2.2% which again was driven by strong ecommerce sales which were up 11.5% overall year-on-year.

Another strong area of spend was online grocery shopping, which was up 10.7% year-on-year and by far outstrips the growth in the sector of the prior three months, suggesting more and more households are trusting supermarkets to deliver their Christmas food.

However premium goods were less in demand, and in December the luxury and jewellery sectors contracted by 3.4% and 5.6% year-on-year respectively.

While the overall picture was one of growth the UK market remains volatile and the fortunes of retailers have been very mixed, judging by trading statements released so far.

Scott Abrahams, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Mastercard UK & Ireland said: “When looking at the year as a whole, 2017 saw retail sales increase 4%. Although Christmas trading was tough and showed a mixed performance among retailers, these results do show that there some areas of optimism for British retailers, particularly those with a strong online presence.”

So far Debenhams and Mothercare are among the retailers to have reported a tough Christmas, with Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser anticipated to do the same later this week. Next posted a better-than-expected 1.5% rise in sales over the festive period (driven by strong online sales) and privately owned fashion retailer Jigsaw said it was up 7%.

Analysts, however, expected etailers such as ASOS and boohoo to be the big winners over Christmas, and newly floated fast-fashion multichannel retailer QUIZ is also tipped to post strong results.

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