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Agents predict cautious buying at London womenswear shows

Cautious buying will be the theme at London trade shows Pure and Scoop next week after summer sales were dampened by early discounting, according to womenswear agents.

Agents told Drapers the market remains challenging for indies, so they expect orders to be flat or only slightly up on last year at Pure and Scoop, which are taking place on August 2-4 at Olympia London and the Saatchi Gallery on King’s Road, Chelsea, respectively.

Michael Shalders, director at agency and distributor Love Brands, which represents Danish label Nü and the eco-friendly Skunkfunk, said: “It hasn’t been an easy summer for independents as the multiples and department stores went on Sale early. The beginning of the season was buoyant, but it dropped off in May and June never really caught up.

“It has been a real mixed bag in terms or orders so far this season; department stores are flat on last year and some indies are a little bit up.”

This was echoed by Katie Lightfoot, owner of contemporary womenswear agency Lightfoot Showroom: “We’re launching at Scoop next week as we had a really good reaction there last season. The only problem our buyers have is the seasons getting earlier; multiples are going into Sale in December and June rather than January and August, so the selling window is getting shorter for indies.”

Clare Morgan, director at Manchester-based Clamor, which represents mainstream womenswear brands Simclaan and Eva Tralala, said: “The industry isn’t recovering quite as quickly as people would like and summer has come a bit late. It is a lot more positive than it has been in recent years, but it’s still difficult. The end consumer wants a discount all the time as they’re so used it to from the multiples.”

However, Juls Dawson, co-founder of young fashion agency Just Consultancies, which sells brands including Native Youth and womenswear label Ichi, said he is expecting the London shows to be busy as many British buyers did not attend trade shows in Berlin this season.

“The last three seasons have been difficult, but moving into a new season we are always upbeat. Because it has been so challenging, a lot of brands have really stepped up their game and we’ve already seen a great reaction to labels like Bellfield for spring 16. Also, a lot of Brits stayed away from the Berlin shows so we’re expecting Pure to be very busy.”

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