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Letters to March 28, 2009

The latest letters from Drapers’ readers

Menswear chains miss a 30-something trick

Every season I foolishly get excited at what the men’s high street will offer, only to be presented with the same old rehashed things. The high street for the 30-something guy is just plain dull.

I’m 36, have my own business and home and have no co-dependants - which also means I have some disposable income.

I find it bonkers that retailers don’t seem to want to tap into this. Obviously, it is a huge market out there and a big part of it is always going to be safe and run of the mill, but when you look at Reiss womenswear and see how directional it is, it can be frustrating to be confronted with pretty dull garments in menswear.

Why should a guy have to spend £200 plus to get a pair of trousers that are fashion forward when a woman can pop into Mango and spend £50 on a garment that looks like it came straight from the catwalk?

There is one brand out there that pretty much has it right for its market and that’s Topman. But I’m 36, not 22, so let’s not go there. I find the high street all a bit soul destroying and very bland. Retailers and your buying teams, please take note.

Any wisdom, insight or general consoling from your readers would be much appreciated,

Craig Purves, disgruntled shopper, London

Offer retailers your full support

For the past few seasons my kidswear agency has worked tirelessly to offer our retailers as much support as we can.

We have been fortunate to have had exceptionally high retention levels, particularly with one of our labels, Mini A Ture. Of course, much of this is to do with the brand but we like to think that our involvement enhances the success.

Distributors can do much to go that extra mile and offer retailers a truly excellent level of service and support. We visit our accounts during the season to chat about how things are going. We look at stock that isn’t selling and replace it with new stock, giving them the best chance of a sell-through. We also invest in regional and national PR.

While I don’t think it will result in their success or failure, I believe that, as distributors, we must do everything we can to offer retailers our full support.

Birgitte Kleftakis, director of kidswear distributor SoLoBi, London

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