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Debenhams reports weather girls putting the heat back into winter clothing sales

Debenhams has revealed that a BBC weather girl is having an effect on the clothes shopping habits of the British public.


Debenhams has revealed new research which reveals that BBC weather girl Carol Kirkwood is having a major effect upon the shopping habits of the nation, new research has revealed.

When she wears winter coats and scarves while reading the weather forecast, sales of winter clothing soar the same day, according to Debenhams.

So great is the trend that her choice of winter wear has a greater effect upon sales than a six degree drop in temperature, figures show.

Debenhams spokesman Ed Watson said: "Nobody in Britain seems to believe that winter has arrived until they see Carol wearing a scarf and ear muffs.

“We’re calling it the ’Weather Girl Effect’ and it’s bringing a warm front to sales on the High Street.”

The effect emerged while Debenhams was conducting annual customer research into shoppers’ buying habits for winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves.

Being able to predict precisely when demand for winter wear will rise enables the store to order well ahead, saving millions of pounds in production fees and storage costs.

The research showed that:
- Winter coat sales begin to rise when external temperatures fall below 16 degrees on three consecutive days.
- Sales of scarves increase when temperatures fall below 12 degrees.
- Gloves sales leap when the mercury falls to just six degrees.
- A fall to nine degrees sparks a rush by women for thermal underwear. Men need another seven degree drop in temperature before they too opt for cosy Long Johns.  

Demand rises exponentially across all sectors with every two degrees fall in outside temperature. However, mysterious spikes in sales remained unexplained - until researchers started watching the BBC Breakfast weather forecasts.

When Carol Kirkwood appeared wearing a warm coat on an outside broadcast, demand for similar garments leapt by an average of 38 per cent above normal, regardless of the outside temperature.

Wearing a hat and gloves increased demand for these items by an average of 51 per cent. And wearing ear muffs created the biggest rise at 82.7 per cent.

The ’Weather Girls Effect’ was greatest with Carol Kirkwood, but also occurred to a lesser extend when her colleagues Louise Lear, Laura Tobin and Elizabeth Saary appeared on screen.

Male weather forecasters have no effect upon sales whatsoever. The BBC’s female weather forecasters have a greater effect than others because they do so many outside broadcasts.  

Ed Watson continued: "It is clear that viewers, especially women, are using the fashion choices of the forecasters to determine how to dress well to suit the weather.

"The warm coats and gloves which Carol wears are providing a more effective visual forecast of what lies ahead, more than the temperature figures on the accompanying high tech weather map.

"Our research shows that the weather girls are teaching the nation how to remain ice queens, able to cope with any stormy squall.

“We’ve come to believe that if Carol Kirkwood read the forecast wearing a bikini, bikini sales would soar even if it was snowing outside.”

The news coincides with Debenhams’ ’Winter Event’ that sees prices reduced by up to 25% across coats and boots.

About Debenhams:
Debenhams is the second largest department store chain in the UK with a strong presence in key product categories including women’s clothing, men’s clothing, childrenswear, furniture, health and beauty and shoes, including women’s boots. Debenhams operates 167 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Debenhams also has 61 international franchise stores in 24 countries and six Magasin stores in Denmark.

Designers at Debenhams include Preen, Jonathan Saunders, Jonathan Kelsey, Roksanda Ilincic, Ted Baker, Jeff Banks, Jasper Conran, Erickson Beamon, FrostFrench, Henry Holland, Betty Jackson, Ben de Lisi, Julien Macdonald, Melissa Odabash, Jane Packer, Pearce Fionda, Janet Reger, John Rocha, Lisa Stickley, Eric Van Peterson and Matthew Williamson.

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