Matt Horstead, Owner of menswear retailer Dartagnan in Chichester, West Sussex.
Having read the article ‘Stores go on Sale to jump-start autumn’ (Drapers, September 7), I was astonished to learn that there were indeed plenty of stores with promotional Sales of autumn collections up and down the high street.
Now call me old fashioned, but what on earth is going on? I read that some stores are suggesting “some people need a little bit of stimulation”, but surely it should be about the product, the environment and the service, not how cheaply they can get it.
We are currently about 90% delivered on autumn stock and could not dream about going into short-term Sale just to gather some momentum. Imagine the damage it would do to our integrity if we did this. We have to fight tooth and nail for our customers’ affections and this is through giving them the right product at the right time and with the service to match.
We’ve barely had a prolonged period of cold and wet weather and yet some high street stores are using the only trick they know to get rid of slow-selling stock. What is to say that, when the weather does change, those pieces sold at heavily discounted rates would not have flown out at full margin?
In my opinion, launching Sales whenever you wish can only have a long-term negative impact for the industry as a whole. Consumers must always be wondering why they should buy at full price when they can wait until a promotion.
Surely there has to come a time when this is more tightly controlled?
We independents have to put full faith and passion in what we are buying months in advance and have our very tight cash flow tied up by stock that perhaps is not quite relevant to the weather. Yet we persevere, relentlessly working to entice our customers in many different, unique and innovative ways.
Perhaps the big multiples should look at what we do and take a leaf out of our books.