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Agencies bask in improving spring sales

Fashion agencies across the UK have reported improving sales and a more positive outlook from independents following a spell of warm weather.

Ian Colquhoun, director of Bond Street Agencies, which represents menswear brands including Cerruti and Fynch-Hatton, said: “The season is going well; the weather has been kind lately, so sales in indies are improving. We’ve already had repeat orders. The last couple of weeks have helped retailers no end.”

Thomas Millea, UK sales manager at young fashion agency Red Alert, which represents Luke and Denim Is Everything, said: “The sun has been out so retailers are feeling positive. They accept things are not like they were 10 years ago and they are upbeat.”

Denise Tavernier, commercial director of womenswear agency Chiltern Street Studio, said “summery” labels, such as Laurence Doligé, Crossley and Mes Demoiselles, are selling well.

She added: “Spring has become a much longer season. It’s been changing for the last two or three years, but we’re really noticing it now.

“We’re shipping summer goods in from pre-Christmas and January and selling until July. Whereas for autumn we ship in July and August, but because of Black Friday [in late November] there’s a much shorter time before people start to think about discounting. And the winters are milder, so there’s not as much demand for heavier merchandise.”

Stone Agencies, which represents menswear brands including Baracuta and Spiewak, has also been filling repeat orders on spring stock. Director Kevin Stone said: “The good weather is getting people motivated. Our brands are ideal for summer so that helps, and we’re already seeing repeats.”

However, he added: “I don’t want to paint a very rosy picture as it is still challenging and you have to work hard and have a good selection of brands. There are fewer indies out there, but the retailers that are left are really trying.”

Juls Dawson, co-founder of young fashion agency Just Consultancies, which represents brands including Native Youth and Bellfield, said: “The [upcoming] election has caused some uncertainty in the market, which is normal, but the weaker sales caused by the warm winter now seem to be a distant memory in buyers’ minds.

“It’s still challenging, but we’re seeing repeat orders on shorts and vests so fingers crossed that the warm weather stays.”

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