Where have all the summer clothes gone?

14_Where have all the summer clothes gone_

Alison Godfrey
(Australian Associated Press)

It’s 30C outside, my children’s swimmers are getting ragged from daily use in the pool but it’s easier for them to go nude than to find a replacement in the stores.

Yet again, the retailers have jumped the gun on winter and replaced their summer stock with jeans, jumpers and long-sleeve shirts while searing hot weather continues outside the air-conditioned shopping malls.

In my quest to find a suitable swimming costume for my daughter, I entered Cotton on Kids. Nothing. Not a one-piece or a bikini.

Next stop Target. Here the swimwear and summer stock had been relegated to the sales rack. Scrambling through the racks, there was only one costume in the right size. It was an Elsa and Anna monstrosity.

It’s not like retailers don’t know. The same thing happened last year and the year before and the year before that.

In the mild winter of 2013 David Jones reported that swimwear was one of their strongest performers in June.

In that same year the executive director of the Australian Retailers Association Russell Zimmerman broached the issue of in-store clothing failing to meet the changing weather patterns with retailers across Australia.

“The warm weather has been prompting retailers to start clearing their winter range early,” Zimmerman said at the time. “In fact, many will have excess stock that will be increasingly hard to move.”

RMIT Fashion industry expert Kiri Delly told AAP when the weather doesn’t warm up or cool down when expected it can delay the consumer’s urge to purchase items – throwing a brand’s sales cycles out and affecting targets.

But still Australian designers deliver winter collections to store during March and summer stock rolls out at the end of August. That’s the way it has always been – despite what the weather outside may be doing.

It’s not just kids fashion that has been affected. The mens’ and womens’ department of the major retailers are all looking wintery.

At the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival consumers are able to buy clothing straight from the runway. In the middle of a heatwave, where celebs are fanning themselves in the front row to keep cool, they are looking to purchase long-sleeved dresses, pant suits and faded denim jackets.

This week Sydney’s temperatures are expected to stay between 28C and 30C. In Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth it’s the same story. Even in Hobart, temperatures are still above 22C.

And retailers are stocking boots and coats?

At the very least, consumers can expect that there will be some fantastic sales on the way when the stock fails to move by August.

And there will be plenty of people having to swim naked.

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