The chilly autumnal weather has aided sales at independent retailers across the country, with men in particular willing to splash the cash on winter warmers.
With temperatures finally in line with the season, retailers have been reaping the rewards and many have already placed repeat orders for more stock.
Steve Cochrane, managing director of independent department store Psyche in Middlesbrough, said: “We’ve had textbook autumn weather after a sunny summer and have had a brilliant start. It caught us by surprise to be honest. We’ve smashed our targets across all categories and I’m convinced we’ve turned a corner. The recession is over.”
Sales at Northern Irish young fashion retailer Clockwork Orange, which has five stores, have picked up over the last couple of weeks too, said owner Sam Morrison, with Barbour jackets and Replay jeans selling well thanks to the cooler weather.
Premium independent OD’s in St Helens, Merseyside, has sold seven Canada Goose coats costing between £550 and £750 in the past fortnight. “We’ve now repeated on our forward order,” said owner Chris O’Dea. “Because we didn’t buy enough outerwear last year the men have said ‘right, I’m not missing out this year’ and have planned ahead.”
Outerwear and knitwear have been strong performers this September at premium retailer Lynx in Harrogate. Owner Guy Hudson said: “Menswear is definitely stronger at the moment. In fact, it’s up 20% on this time last year. Guys tend to be the first to stop spending when things get tough but now they have more money in their pockets they are starting to spend more and treat themselves to more luxurious products.”
Hereford young fashion retailer Fit’s managing director Luke Conod said trade had been strong with sales last Saturday double those seen a year ago. He has already repeat-ordered on G-Star and Superdry products.
“With the inclement weather people are spending a little bit more on their outerwear,” said Conod. “It seems to be that rather than buying a jacket as a throwaway piece of fashion, they are buying something they are going to love and wear.”
Women’s boots have also benefited from the drizzly weather, said Becci Cornelius, director of nine-store Cornish retailer Ann’s Cottage Surf Shops.
“Women have been buying autumn product early, while men’s has started picking up in the last two weeks when the weather changed. Women prepare for the season much more in advance than the men,” she said.
Sales at men’s young fashion brand Luke, however, have been flat over the last couple of weeks. Managing director Simon Poole said: “Some people have started doing crazy mid-season Sales. Because of the way trade has been, we’ve kept our buying very tight. I think a lot of indies will have under-ordered.”