Comfortable clothing sales drop as shoppings farewell ‘lockdown lifestyle’

·2 min read

Shoppers are putting lockdown firmly behind them as they buy more formal wear and travel-related items rather than loungewear.

Annual sale figures from John Lewis haved suggested that consumers are turning away from non-wired bras, velour tracksuits, jigsaws and wall-mounted desks.

The retailer’s annual How We Shop, Live And Look report found that sales of non-wired bras are down by a third, while sales of loungewear velour tracksuits have fallen by 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, John Lewis has removed wall-mounted desks from sale altogether as customers have “cast off the trappings of a life in lockdown”.

Sales of jigsaw puzzles, which became popular as people picked up new hobbies during lockdown, have also declined by 68 per cent on last year.

The retailer’s report also suggested that customers are returning to lunches outside the home, with sales of soup makers falling by 12 per cent and bread bins down by 42 per cent.

Instead, sales of commute-ready laptop bags rose by 20 per cent and travel mugs rocketed even higher by 65 per cent.

As wedding and social events returned to full swing this year, sales of occasion hats soared by 168 per cent and smart menswear sales were up by 60 per cent.

To get ready for these events, Britons purchased more ironing boards (up by 19 per cent) and made sure they turned up smelling nice as perfume sales rose by 24 per cent.

It marks a stark contrast from sales during the UK’s previous lockdowns, which saw loungewear sales rise by 1,303 per cent in 2020.

When the country was plunged into a strict lockdown once again in December 2021, loungewear sales rose as people traded festive party clothes for cosy clothes to stay indoors.

However, some shopping trends have confused the retailer as consumers bought seven times more sheepskin Ugg boots compared to last year, while sales of 90s-style Casio watches rose by 81 per cent.

Sales of toastie makers also rose by 63 per cent – but John Lewis noted that shoppers “weren’t being gourmet about it” as sales of sliced white bread rose by 17 per cent at Waitrose.

A spokesperson for John Lewis said: “This year we’ve seen a profound shift in shopping behaviour. Customers have enjoyed the return of travel, part time office working and in-store shopping.

“But our in-depth analysis has shown that the combination of living in an always-on digital world and the societal shift accelerated by Covid have cemented our appreciation of the everyday.

“Shoppers are still wanting products to help them make the most of everyday moments such as having family and friends over for dinner and prioritising their wellbeing.”