Drapers probes leading independents to get their View From the Shop Floor.
How is business at the moment?
Actually we are finding that we are doing slightly better than this time last year. I think we have a great product mix (we sell more than 50 brands) and our sales have been boosted by the incredible popularity of Lyle & Scott at the moment. Some styles in their range have sold out the moment they have hit the shop floor.
Have you changed buying budgets for spring 10?
Our budgets have really stayed on a similar level to last season. I don’t like to give individual brands a set amount and therefore the budget is very flexible – I wouldn’t want to miss out on a new brand if I think it is really strong. If we do choose to take on a new range then we like to give it three or four seasons.
Are you visiting any trade shows for Spring 10?
Bread & Butter is the one we are most looking forward to and I did have some colleagues in Paris over the last weekend. I still think attending the trade shows is extremely important. It’s good to be able to see everything in one place and to compare brands directly. It definitely inspires me for when I go back to our stores.
What products will you be looking for?
At Bread & Butter I will be looking forward to seeing the new designs from G-Star because it is a strong brand for us and always provides interesting and exciting designs. In the business sense though, I will mainly be seeking out brands that will offer a higher profit margin for the stores.
Are you doing anything specific to drive trade?
Last year we launched the Xile magazine and we have just published the fourth issue.
We print 21,000 and distribute half to the shop floor and send out the other half direct to our web customers. We have had a great response and it has really boosted our online sales this year.
What are your biggest challenges at the moment?
Unfortunately our biggest challenge has been working out ways to retain good staff. We are lucky in the sense that we haven’t really felt the effect of the economic downturn and this is due to our very loyal customer base and excellent website.
- David Weeks director of buying at young fashion indie Xile in Edinburgh
- Brands include Diesel, G-Star, Lyle & Scott, Replay, Ted Baker