Rising costs pile on the agony for Britain’s fashion retailers
From culottes to “cold shoulder” tops and woven loafers last seen in Miami Vice, many Britons have struggled with this summer’s fashions, but now there is an even more unpalatable trend on the horizon – in the shape of higher prices. The devaluation of sterling following the June Brexit vote has had major ramifications for store chiefs who pay in dollars for large quantities of imported goods. The first indication of where prices could be heading came last week from Next, one of the UK’s biggest clothing retailers, which pencilled in increases of up to 5% in 2017. “We have always taken the view that if our costs go up, our selling prices will go up,” said Next chief executive Lord Wolfson. But fashion retailers are already struggling to persuade shoppers to part with their cash as weak wage growth is compounded by a cyclical shift towards spending on eating out and other leisure activities. Kantar analyst Glen Tooke says its most recent reading shows the decline deepening.
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