As much as you can, depending on your position in the market and the availability of strong in-season product! We’re seeing a lot of retailers both in the UK and abroad shifting budget to accessories as a way of maximizing sales. Accessories are less weather-dependent than clothing is, they make great gifts, they can update a look and customers can justify their investment in them to themselves. Again, your position in the market will affect how you approach in-season trends. Of course, whether strong trend pieces are available is always an issue. We don’t expect any major dominant pieces this season (along the lines of the poncho trend a few years ago) but there are some key staple pieces such as the biker jacket (sleeveless or not), the ‘coatigan’, or layered chunky statement knits (note these are all tops, it’s a quieter season for bottoms). We believe trend-reactive buying will be much more crucial for the young market.
A very difficult question! It is one of those “ how long is a piece of string?” questions! However it’s always prudent to keep some OTB available for trends. Firstly look at your success with trends previously –and ask yourself a few key questions: Is your customer base driven by trends? Do your current supplier’s offer “flash” or “express” collections and what is their forecasted expectations? How important is this turnover to your business? Secondly look at the opportunities trend related styles offer you in terms of local marketing and new customers, particularly in the current challenging market. Once you have satisfied yourself with all these answers you should be able to make a decision on your financial commitment.