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Mixed sales for men’s indies as Pitti Uomo opens

Premium branded menswear indies have seen mixed trading over recent weeks, with most retailers polled by Drapers holding or cutting buying budgets.

Guy Hudson, owner of Lynx in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, which sells brands such as Paul Smith and John Smedley, said trade over the past three months had been good. “April was up, May was down and June has been up so far,” he said.

“We always go to Pitti Uomo although we’ve cut the length of how long we’ll stay. It’s a very good barometer of the sector and there are some quirky Italian brands that we only see there. Our budget for next spring will be down about 10%.”

Giulio Cinque, owner of Giulio in Cambridge, which sells the likes of Prada and Dior, said recent good weather had created a feeling of optimism ahead of Pitti Uomo, but added that trade was tough compared with this time last year.

He said: “We need the good weather to continue. It puts everyone in the mood to buy something, even if it’s just a top.”

Some retailers were intending to increase budgets for spring 10 after sales increases bucked the trend across the high street.

Nigel Lawson, co-owner of Oi Polloi in Manchester, which sells brands including Nudie Jeans, said: “Sales are up. We’ve got to spend a lot more for spring 10 if we want to keep growing the business. If we like the product we’ll buy it.”

At designer indie Signature in Aberdeen, buyer Malcolm Evans said business was not suffering. “Sales are up like for like. We are cushioned from the recession because of the oil and fishing industries here, which are strong.”

However, Louis Copeland, owner of Dublin department store business Louis Copeland, which stocks brands such as Duchamp and Hugo Boss, said trade was tough. “We are 30% down on last year, which is the same as it’s been all year. Hopefully it won’t get any worse,” he said.

Pitti Uomo opened its doors this morning and will run until June 19.

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