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Lingerie sales steady as buyers shun new labels

Lingerie independents are cautious about the spring 10 buying season according to a Drapers Indicator poll, with more than half of those surveyed saying they will not be testing any new brands because of the tough trading climate.

Although many of the retailers polled by Drapers said they would be attending the Harrogate Lingerie & Swimwear show, which takes place from August 16-18 at the Harrogate International Centre in North Yorkshire, buyers will approach the show cautiously. Some 62% said they would not bring in any new brands and others said they would axe peripheral labels.

“We won’t be buying any new brands [for spring],” said Shirley Ryan, owner of Mirari in Dorchester, Dorset, which sells brands including Vanity Fair and Fantasie. “We feel we have to be cautious.”
Harriet Wilkes, owner of Barbarella in Worcester, which counts Marie Jo and Elixir de Lingerie among its brands, added: “The financial climate will make us buy more cautiously, but we must keep the store looking fresh.”

Levels of trade were flat compared with the year before over the week to June 6 for 48% of the retailers polled, while total weekly takings were down 0.4% for the period.
However, the consensus was that the Harrogate fair remained essential to the overall buying season.

Karen Baynes, manager of Sweet Dreams in Buckingham, which sells Chantelle and Triumph, said: “It is so important to go to the trade shows to get a good idea of the new trends, styles and brands.”

Catherine Litchfield, co-owner of Alicia in Finedon, Northamptonshire, whose brands include Prima Donna and Aubade, added: “The lingerie business is a close network and it’s important to speak to other businesses to find out the gossip.”

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