Cold, wet weather has boosted the early sales of autumn collections in Edinburgh and independents are expecting a further uplift during the Festival Fringe.
The autumn season started well for contemporary womenswear indie Frontiers Boutique at 16 Stafford Street. Co-owner Kim Buchanan said: “We are up on this time last year with light knitwear doing really well. The weather has been awful, so all of my shoppers have been looking for new-season collections for the last couple of weeks.”
On nearby William Street, Sam Withall, owner of womenswear shop Sam Brown, agreed: “Coats and cashmere pieces have been doing really well. The kids go back to school next week in Scotland, so our shoppers are very much in an autumnal mood.”
Sarah Murray, owner of premium womenswear indie Jane Davidson at 52 Thistle Street in Edinburgh, said: “We’ve already sold through on some autumn pieces. Scottish shoppers know they can wear them 75% of the year so they are willing to invest.”
The annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe kicked off on August 7 and runs until the end of the month (August 30).
“During the festival the city comes alive,” said Murray. “There tends to be quite an arty crowd around – they love our brands like Roksanda – and the tourists love our Scottish cashmere scarves.”
Withall said: “Tourists tend to be high-spending, so even a couple of visitors [during the festival] can make a real difference.”
David Weeks, owner of menswear mini-chain Xile, which has shops in Edinburgh, Livingston and Glasgow, said the influx of tourists, particularly those from Scandinavia and Japan, was stimulating sales of British heritage brands such as Barbour and Lyle & Scott. “Barbour Heritage jackets are flying out of the shop since they came in two weeks ago.”
Weeks revealed he is planning to open another shop in Scotland later this year, as the others are trading well. The exact location is to be confirmed.
Menswear retailer Kestin Hare opened its second store in Edinburgh earlier this month at 46A George Street.
Designer and marketing manager Gail Ferguson said: “The street has been pedestrianised for the festival, so there are a lot of people popping in. We’re expecting this to increase as the festival continues.”