Drapers probe leading Independents to get their View From The Shop floor.
How confident do you feel about business this summer?
Going on sales so far in menswear, which is up substantially, we’re feeling very positive. All I’ve been doing these last few days is replenishing stock. Edinburgh’s a very buoyant City, and from now until September it will be a tourist central.
Who is your core customer these days?
Our core customer is aged 16-25, the kids are staying at home with their folks now so have more disposable income yet with no mortgage and other out goings
Who is your key competition?
In Edinburgh, we compete with House of Fraser, USC, Cruise and Harvey Nichols.
How do you compete with the high street?
There’s not really any competition for G Star [one of its franchise stores]. We buy more independent-led brands, rather than commercial led ones. If you look at Next or River Island, it’s the same kind of stuff- some of it’s really good, but it’s not unique. A young lad wants something different, and is willing to spend that extra £10/ £15 to get that.
Which trends will be key for autumn 08?
Denim is very strong for us. We are predominantly a denim retailer, but there’ll be more shirting next season. That smart/casual look will stay popular for men.
How is the website performing?
It’s doing very well, like another store. We expect turnover to be in excess of £1 million by the end of the year.
What can we expect from you this year?
We’re opening a G Star franchise store in Glasgow in August, we already have one in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. We also have a Replay franchise in Edinburgh.
Are you expanding?
Yes, we are looking at cities across Scotland for Xile at the moment.
How is trade at the moment?
Trade is very good, we’re up 15% on last year. The brands are good, the price points are good and people are buying. We are predominantly menswear, about 80%, with the rest womenswear and accessories.
Are customers reluctant to spend because of the current economic climate?
No, not at all- although we’re not seeing as many older faces as we used to.
How does the Scottish market differ from the English?
There’s far too much competition in England. Exclusivity is the key, we have exclusive rights for brands such as Lyle and Scott in Edinborough which works really well.
How is the independent retail market overall?
Independents in Scotland are doing ok, they’re all generally quite happy.
What’s your key piece of advice for independents?
Keep stock levels up- I can’t emphasise that enough. It’s why some independent’s are going by the wayside. I make sure we have at least 8 of every size in store at any one time, which usually lasts about a week. It’s not hard.
Which brands are selling well in your store at the moment?
Big brands like Lyle and Scott, G Star and Diesel in both menswear and womenswear are selling really well, along with Adidas. Smaller labels such as Junk de Luxe and Revolution are also doing really well.
David Weeks is director of buying at Xile, Scotland.
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