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Brands’ cold-call tactics receive mixed response

More than 70% of young fashion independents have experienced a noticeable increase in speculative calls and unannounced shop visits from brands and agents, who are reverting to traditional sales tactics during the recession.

Indies told Drapers’ Indicator survey this week that an unprecedented number of brands were cold-calling in a bid to add new accounts. Many retailers praised the bold approach while some told Drapers they were disappointed it had taken the recession to persuade some brands to consider supplying them.

In the young fashion market, 71% of womenswear retailers and 79% of menswear retailers had noticed the return of old-fashioned sales tactics, with brands such as Henri-Lloyd, Levi’s, Wrangler and Armani Jeans cited as the most proactive.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures, so suppliers have resorted to an old-school approach to selling,” said Gareth Turtle, menswear manager of Encore in Crosby in Liverpool, which sells brands including G-Star, French Connection and Firetrap.

“The recession means suppliers are out of their comfort zones and as a result are finding new solutions. Suppliers get too relaxed so the recession brings a new lease of life and a different way of doing things. Coming in store is what the suppliers have to do and it’s nice to see them come out of showrooms.”

However, some retailers were not so receptive to the new approach and felt suppliers should have been as active in communicating with them before the recession kicked in.

Mike Sweeney, sales manager of Dickens in Wigan, Greater Manchester, which sells Firetrap and Peter Werth, said: “We have our contacts that we deal with as we can trust them. Trust and loyalty play a big part in who we take on so we wouldn’t be interested in suppliers approaching us during this time.”

Kevin Smith, owner of Amici in Burgess Hill in West Sussex, which sells Lacoste and Lyle & Scott, added: “We are being bombarded with sales phone calls. I wasn’t attracted to them before and so I’m not going to be now. Phone calls are not a good way of selling.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • A good agent takes communication and store visits as part of his job so as far as I'm concerned it's just business as usual.

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