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Buyers to push ahead for spring 17 despite Brexit worries, say agents

Positive attitudes for spring 17 prevail for buyers, despite worries over rising prices following the Brexit vote, according to UK agents.

Agencies across the UK report buyers walking with a spring in their step as the buying season draws to a close, despite concerns over currency following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

“We’ve had some strong in-season brands sell really well for us,” said Red Alert director Dan Griffiths. “Kenzo has been received well in the footwear space, and Gym King has been a real power brand for us.”

Kam Harris, director at Brand National, says it has been “a positive season”: “In terms of brands, there have been lots of neon and fun colours doing well. After the Brexit anxiety there’s been a lot less of an immediate impact than we were expecting.”

However, she added there has been some anxiety over pricing following the Brexit vote: “Some brands have had some price increases, which is a concern for a few people I’ve spoken to.”

Katie Lightfoot, director of Lightfoot Showrooms, agreed: “Brexit seems to have hit confidence for some clients. Some department stores have slashed budgets, and there have been price increases – people are having to deal with that.” However, she added that key brands, such as Mercy Delta, have performed “really well”.

“People are treading carefully after Brexit and the poor summer,” said Innocenza director Sofia Strazzanti-Lynes. She noted that European brands are particularly affected, but they are overcoming these hurdles: “Chloe Stora is a good example, despite being French. It’s fun, something different and very impactful on the rail. Overall we’re trying to stay positive, help each other and deal with what’s in front of us.”

Apt Collections director Nigel Hughes agreed that focusing on select brands has helped sales increase over the spring 17 selling season. Hughes’s firm streamlined its offer – dropping from 12 labels to three over the last few seasons – and the approach is paying off.

“If something good came along, we wouldn’t turn it down flat, but we’re not going back to the days when we had 10 or 12 brands,” Hughes said. “We’ve really pushed brands such as Piccadilly, which has worked well. We targeted a 50% increase in business for the season and we’re already at 40%, so we’re on track.”

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