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Aspecto beats slump as sales soar by 17%

Young fashion independent Aspecto has reported a 17% rise in like-for-like sales and a robust start to the autumn season.

The Manchester-based business is owned by entrepreneur Mel Pilkington, who told Drapers that pre-tax profits were £301,000 in the year to February 28, which marked a strong performance during a period that included the most turbulent retail climate seen for many years.

Pilkington said: “We experienced very strong sales leading up to and over the Christmas 2008 period with Ugg boots leading the way. This resulted in a very pleasing year’s trading, in difficult conditions.”

Aspecto operates eight stores across the north of England in Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham. Pilkington admitted that summer had got off to a slower start against the year before as the full effect of the recession began to bite. However, sales during the six weeks to August 31 rose 3.5%, as strong sales of Ugg continued, and new season Barbour and Y-3 product hit the shelves.

“The difficult market conditions and the recession meant that summer was a tough season, plus the average ticket price is much lower than autumn,” said Pilkington.

The strong current trading performance has put Pilkington in an optimistic frame of mind ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period. “The strength of product and supply is key to our Christmas performance. We have to make sure we stay on top of the key lines and we have put in our forward orders.”

Aspecto is gearing up to go on Sale on December 26 – the mini chain will open for the first time in 10 years on Boxing Day to take advantage of heightened trade.

Aspecto, which was established in 1987, is set to open its ninth store in Birmingham on November 20.

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