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Buyers slice budgets ahead of B&B show

Young fashion retailers heading out to Bread & Butter Barcelona next week have trimmed back their buying budgets despite reporting an uplift in trading.

A Drapers straw poll of leading young fashion retailers showed that most are experiencing stronger sales than in 2007, but the majority said they had been forced to rein in spending for spring 09 on the back of increased cost pressures, including rate rises.

Steve Cochrane, owner of Middlesbrough independent Psyche, said: “We’re tightening up on our spend a bit. Sales are up 11% against last year but costs are going up faster than sales.”

Aziz Abidat, owner of London-based stores Made Man and Phlip, added: “You’ve got to be careful with your budget now. But you have got to be in it to win it. If you’re not positive you might as well hang up your boots.”

Retailers said they were upbeat about the prospects of finding new trends at Bread & Butter, which takes place July 2-4, with which to tempt shoppers next season.

One buying director of a multiple young fashion chain said: “I’m expecting it to be a great show. It’s the one opportunity in the season where you have two or three days to get a real picture of what’s happening for spring 09 and the show always seems to keep its buoyancy whatever the market.

“Trading is OK at the moment, so if I see the right products in Barcelona then I’ll be increasing my spend for next spring.”

However, there was some evidence of a Bread & Butter backlash from brands who felt the heavy cost of exhibiting could not be justified in the current climate. A group of 12 brands have set up a spin-off show called Ten Barcelona this season, which they said would give them a niche showcase away from what they believe has become the mainstream halls of Bread & Butter.

The show, which is hosting brands including PF Flyers, Baracuta and Farah Vintage, will run along the same dateline as Bread & Butter. It is organised by US marketing firm Criterium Events.

One exhibitor said: “The show is about like-minded brands coming together to get good adjacencies and a cost-effective way to show. We can hire the venue and get catering collectively for £20,000, so why would I spend £8,000 to £10,000 just for one stand at B&B?

“We’re expecting to get more than 200 buyers through the doors and have already got appointments with Asos, Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser.”

David Weeks, director of buying at independent mini chain Xile, said: “We are trading up but I’m scaling back a bit on budget this summer.

“I have found that brands such as G-Star and Lyle & Scott are slaughtering other brands, so I will cut back on those others by 20%. In terms of new brands to watch out for there is nothing that is really sticking out in my mind, but there’s the new show with a few quirky denim brands.”

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