Time running out for budget fashionThe era of rock-bottom prices nears end

03 August 2007

 

A bundle of clothes.

The era of fast fashion at rock-bottom prices could be coming to an end, experts warned today.

Shoppers will not see the ‘dramatic’ falls in price which have hit high streets in the past few years.

Instead, clothing deflation will ease off and some items will get more expensive, according to market analysts Verdict.

This is partly because UK shoppers are ‘saturated’ with clothes, with the average woman now buying twice as many items per year as she did in 1995.

‘Aspirational or different’

For this reason retailers will find it difficult to keep ramping up the volume of clothes they sell, Verdict says.

Instead they will start making clothes which cost more but are ‘aspirational or different’.

A Verdict spokesman said: ‘To an extent people are bored with clothing shopping. They do like low prices, but they also want to be inspired, and they're prepared to pay for the privilege.’

Clothes prices in the UK dropped by an average 10 per cent between 2003 and 2007.

Supermarkets

This was largely due to the success of budget fashion on sale in supermarkets and value retailers such as Primark.

Traditional high street chains responded to the competition by pushing their own prices down, according to Verdict.

These rock-bottom prices were underpinned by retailers sourcing cheap products from abroad.

But Verdict predicts the 12-year period of clothing price deflation will end by 2010.

Womesnwear

It says womenswear will bear the brunt of inflation, with average prices increasing by 4.7 per cent between 2008 and 2012, although menswear still has potential to get very slightly cheaper.

The predicted change is partly due to retailers being unable to cut their production costs further because most of them already source from cheap overseas locations.

And like other sectors, clothing retailers face increasing energy, staff and rent costs which in turn will affect their prices, Verdict says.

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