Sales of thermal clothing rocket in response to Covid restrictions | Fashion

For those able – and willing – to brave the cold for an alfresco and socially-distanced pre-Christmas meet-up with friends under Covid restrictions, it seems wardrobe adjustments are in order.

Sales of thermal trousers and base layers are going through the roof, with a younger generation now buying into a comfort factor more usually enjoyed by the more mature adventurer, according to retailers.

It comes after most of England was placed under tier 2 measures at the start of the month, meaning households can only mix outdoors – so socialising has become a chilly affair.

Growing numbers of city dwellers are also discovering the delights of thermals, said Kasia Bromley, co-founder of ACAI Outdoorwear which has seen a 2,400% increase in demand for its women’s thermal skinny outdoor trousers range, which have the look of fashionable skinny jeans.

“We have struggled to keep up with demand. We have increased our orders five-fold for the next restock. But the prediction is for a 3,000% increase going into January. So we expect to sell out in a couple of days, which is crazy,” said Bromley. “It’s the new party wear.”

Sales of ACAI’s thermal ranges to women aged 25-34 have increased by 350%, now making up 42% of the total, and overtaking those to over 45-year-olds (25%), who used to be the main market.

The company, based in north Wales, has also seen a 59% increase in customers from major UK cities, with the biggest proportion in London followed by Edinburgh, Bristol, Glasgow and York.

“Customers are telling us it is for alfresco dining,” said Bromley. “The fact we have seen a big increase in the younger demographic really reflects socialising in the outdoors.”

Thermal base layers, trousers, fleeces and winter boots are top of shopping lists, it appears.

Mark Neale, founder of outdoor specialists Mountain Warehouse, said: “Over the past few weeks we have experienced strong sales online, and, more recently, a bounce back from our 250-plus stores in England and Wales which are now open.

“The latest official guidelines which mean that those in tier 2 and tier 3 can only meet outdoors is likely to have contributed to recent sales success, and we have seen an uplift in sales of our cold weather products including winter coats, fleeces and winter boots.

“The week that the tiered system was revealed, the business sold over 100% more fleeces online than the same time last year.”

Blacks Outdoors, which has more than 150 stores across the UK trading as Blacks and Millets, has also seen sales of warm weather clothing soar.

“At Blacks we’ve seen a significant increase in demand for warm weather clothing , including insulation and accessories,” said Blacks’ buying director Jim McNamara.

“We’re thrilled to have been able to help so many new customers enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer across the whole country. From getting out on walks in our local parks to taking on mountain ranges for the first time, as a nation we’ve enjoyed adventures big and small whilst staying close to home.”

Bromley said her company was “one of the very, very fortunate businesses that have really benefited” from the fallout of the pandemic. Winter usually saw increased sales, she added. “But this winter it has just gone bananas”.


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