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Maxine Thornton

Drapers probe leading Independents to get their View from the Shop Floor.

How is trade? 
The New Year got off to a positive start. We’re realistic but upbeat about 2009. We have just the one shop, which has been running for 33 years and is a family-owned business.

The trading environment is tough, has this affected the way you buy?
I am just about to buy for autumn 09 and will be very focused.

Which brands are selling well? 
Condici and Ispirato were very strong occasionwear sellers last season, and the new Condici delivery is already selling well. Passport has sold well within the daywear category.

Have you bought into any new brands for spring 09?
Yes, occasionwear brand Ian Stuart and US label Tapestry are both new for the season.

What are your biggest challenges in the current economic climate?
To hold my nerve and keep smiling. Independent stores have to continue to succeed in being specialists and protecting their reputations to gain and retain customer loyalty.

When did you go on Sale?
We went pre-Christmas. We wanted to show spring 09 stock as soon as we got it. Occasionwear independents have a different sell-through season to other fashion retailers, as customers want  to buy special outfits well in advance of the season.

What is your priority over the next year?
To maintain our specialist reputation in offering style, service and affordability. Basically, we will do what we do best and have won awards for.

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