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Buyers cautious ahead of Pitti Uomo

Tough trading and unfavourable exchange rates could hit UK visitor numbers at the Pitti Uomo menswear show in Florence next week.

Independents told Drapers they were in cautious mood, with many keeping back up to 30% of their spring 09 budget for short-order buying, and directing the bulk of forward-order buy to “safe bet” brands.

Darren Conway, buyer at Essex independent Choice, said the business was still deciding whether to go to the show.

“We’re not selling that much formalwear at the moment, so the product is less relevant for us. Also the exchange rate with the euro is making European brands a bit expensive. We’re better off going to the US, to shows like Project in Las Vegas, where the currency rate is better. But mostly there are a lot of UK brands doing well, and they can give us short order.”

Giulio Cinque, owner of Giulio in Cambridge, has been going to Pitti Uomo for 25 years, but will not attend this season. He said: “A lot of the brands don’t do anything different.”

However, Charlie Peel, menswear buyer at Colchester department store Williams & Griffin, said Pitti Uomo was still a must.

“We’ve seen a real upturn in tailoring since the beginning of February, against a really poor season before, so we will be looking at that. But we’re being a little bit careful, with about 25% in-season buying,” he said.

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