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April fails to lift indies’ spirits

UK womenswear independents suffered dismal trading in April, backing up the findings of the British Shops and Stores Association’s quarterly sales survey which was published this week.

Retailers polled by Drapers said sales in April had continued to be “weak” after the BSSA recorded a sales dip for indies of 0.2% for the quarter to March.

Retailers added that they were banking on warm weather to lift their season, but some were concerned that warm weather might lure more shoppers away from the high streets.

Dorothy Griffiths, owner of Belles & Beaux in Lincoln, said April had been “very tough.” “We’ve had to work hard to get customers to part with their money,” she said. Griffiths said that sales from their website had been steadier.

Cheryl Rawlings, buyer at Coes in Ipswich, said: “We’re down on last April, but only by a tiny margin. We’re so reliant on sunshine these days.”

Janice Watters, store manager at Ideas Unique in Bridlington in East Yorkshire, said: “We offer discount days and put on fashion shows to entice customers, as shopping takes a back seat during an economic downturn.”

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