Drapers probes leading independents to get their View from the Shop Floor.
How is business going at the moment?
It is more consistent than it has been. I’m not going to say it is good, but at the moment it is consistently OK.
How is the indie designer menswear market faring in the recession?
Speaking personally, our premium brands are performing well, particularly Gucci, as well as Prada and Christian Dior. They are doing well because they have design integrity and are exclusive.
Not many retailers have these products; I am quite an exclusive independent. It is also our first season with Lanvin - the deliveries are not good but it is selling well.
We bought in euros which has impacted on the margins. The strong euro has hit us hard. To give us a point of difference, we have exclusive products with limited exposure. There are not many stores around this area that have these limited exposure products.
Are niche retailers more resilient than mainstream stores in a downturn?
I would like to think so.
Which trends are helping to drive business?
Direction, innovation, design and detail. Customers are looking for interesting product and that is driven by designers coming up with fresh ideas. The menswear business has evolved; men are choosing narrower suits.
How is the currency issue affecting pricing?
The euro exchange rate is creating an imbalance in price. It is cheaper for Italians to come here and buy Prada or Gucci than in
their own country.
- Giulio Cinque owner of two-store designer independent Giulio in Cambridge