Christmas shoppers to boost flagging clothing sales

Clothing retail sales in Sweden are set to decline by 5 percent in December and zero growth is forecast for 2009, according to a new forecast.

Christmas shoppers to boost flagging clothing sales

Designer and expensive items are set to be the hardest hit as the recession starts to make an impact in stores.

Sales of clothing will fall by 5 percent in the full month of December in comparison with the corresponding month of 2007, according to projections from sector organization Svensk Handel Stil.

It is hoped that the two days wedged between the weekend and public holidays at the beginning of Christmas week will help to boost Christmas sales and Stockholm department store NK reported a full house as the Christmas holiday approached.

“The first part of December was below expectations and we are counting on December coming off worse than December last year,” said Camilla Wallander, head of marketing at the store.

“But in recent days we have been full in the department store.”

The period after Christmas is more difficult to difficult to call, according to Mikael Sandström at Svensk Handel Stil, as he expects more people to elect to work instead of go out shopping in the sales.

“But overall trading between December 22nd and 31st will be better than last year,” said an upbeat Sandström.

“We are forecasting unchanged sales for clothing and shoes next year, but it is usually the case that the more expensive brands suffer most in a recession.”

“Customers usually look for cheaper alternatives in downturns,” said Sandström, who was keen to bring a little perspective.

“Over a couple of years in the middle of the 1990s, 600 clothing stores went bankrupt. I don’t think it will be that bad this time around,” he said.

With interest rates and taxes on their way down next year would most likely see an improvement in the finances of many of Sweden’s households, Sandström argued.


Swedes’ meat consumption continues to decrease

Swedes are eating less meat than ever before, according to new figures from the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket).

Swedes’ meat consumption continues to decrease
Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT
After last year produced the largest annual reduction in meat consumption since the organization started recording the figures in 1990, the downward trend has continued throughout the first three quarters of this year. 
From January through September, there was a 2.8 percent overall decline in meat consumption. On average, Swedes consumed 1.8 fewer kilograms of meat through the first nine months of 2018. 
“Market trends, climate considerations, a focus on health and animal ethics are all factors in our current consumption trends,” Jordbruksverket spokesperson Åsa Lannhard Öberg said in a press release
Although eco-conscious Swedes are likely well aware of the enormous carbon footprint of meat production, there may also be a less altruistic reason behind the decline. 
“Meat sales declined in many stores during the summer as a result of the barbecue ban, but consumption is also decreasing longer-term so there we can’t just point to the summer months to explain the decline,” Lannhard Öberg said.
The summer of 2018 saw Sweden hit by the worst wildfires in more than 50 years, prompting authorities to put in place bans on all kinds of open fire, including barbecues across the country. The majority of those bans were put in place in early summer and lifted by the end of August. 
Increasingly, when Swedes reach for meat products in the supermarket they are placing home-grown products in their carts. Jordbruksverket’s figures showed that demand for Swedish meat and poultry increased significantly. Domestic lamb led the way, with a six percent increase, while Swedish beef increased by 4.4 percent, pork by 3.2 and Swedish poultry by 2.3 percent. 
Lannhard Öberg attributed the increases in Swedish meat and poultry to an increased focus on environmental sustainability, which she said is particularly strong within the Swedish agriculture sector.