One shop in Cologne made no bones about it, with a large sign in the window reading “Bad weather reductions, 20 percent off” – advertising a sale that’s been on since the start of May.
“The situation is very bad, the weather is really hurting us,” said Julia Veiga Martinez, owner of the Limones shop. “I was walking around with my padded jacket on in May. It’s clear that people don’t need to buy new clothes with such weather.”
The winter was too mild, and then the spring was too cold, meaning domestic clothing sales have been depressed since last September, the newspaper said.
The German Association of Textile Trade (BTE) confirmed that the first five months of the year had left the industry three-percent down on last year. It would have been even worse without the still-healthy online sector, it said. Some are estimating that the shop-based trade may be as much as 10 percent down on last year.
One of the domestic clothing giants Gerry Weber, which has spent the last few years going from success to success, recently knocked down its end-of-year prediction from a profit of €900 million to between €860 and €870 million. Its shops stretched out the winter sales in order to try to shift stock.
Andrew Jennings, head of Karstadt, complained of what he said was the “worst spring season in the fashion industry for retail in Europe for years.” This followed a tough Christmas season, he said.
Even Swedish giant H&M, whose biggest market is Germany, said its earnings between March and May was 13 percent down on the previous three months – even though its turnover was about the same.
“The warehouses are full, too full for the middle of June,” BTE trade association’s spokesman Siegfried Jacobs told Die Welt – and said the autumn stock was already on its way.
At least one insider told the paper this would lead to desperate retailers knocking down prices on their summer stock by up to 70 percent as early as June, even though the summer sales are usually expected at the end of July.