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Be unique to avoid the Sale trap

Caroline Nodder

The honeymoon period is over. No sooner had the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge set foot back in good old Blighty than fashion retailers began battening down the hatches and manning the Sales.

The honeymoon period is over. No sooner had the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge set foot back in good old Blighty than fashion retailers began battening down the hatches and manning the Sales. With the last week of May seeing some of the worst trading figures of 2011 so far, the British Retail Consortium predictions that things would get worse before they got better do seem to have come home to roost.

Poor weather has kept shoppers away from the high streets and, although department stores have reputedly fared better, the decision by Debenhams and House of Fraser to bring forward their Sales will mean more misery for others forced to follow suit. Indies in particular will be spitting rocks at the move, with many seeing poor sell-through so far this season compounded by Sales starting even earlier than last year.

In a market where many shoppers are discount-led this highlights the need for non-price led businesses to emphasise their true value. Consumers can be persuaded to spend if they feel they are getting true value, so retailers that major on uniqueness and quality of product and excellent service can still win in this market. If you’re not willing to follow the crowd with discounts, now is the time to have a good long look at what you do, how you market yourself and what your customer is willing to pay more for. Consumers will now routinely mix and match cut-price and designer pieces so there is room for both, but at either end the competition means you’ve got to be at the top of your game.

“Consumers can be persuaded to spend if they feel they are getting true value”

A key aim at Drapers is to promote the fantastic career opportunities in fashion, so I’m delighted to unveil our new site, StoreManagersinFashion.com. The new online recruitment portal pairs the best store management talent with indie and multiple retailers countrywide and is a key resource for jobseekers and employers - check it out!

Caroline Nodder, Editor-in-chief

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