Guy Hudson, Owner of contemporary retailer Lynx in Harrogate.
What a difference a month makes.
I am certainly not the only independent owner frantically trying to avoid the painful experience of spending any time in our filled-to-capacity stockrooms.
It is amazing how year on year we struggle to allow ourselves a modicum of confidence until we have enjoyed the relief and encouragement from trading through a healthy month, such as the one we just had. Only then can we reinstate those distant feelings that just maybe those agonised, hard-fought decisions that were made six months ago may possibly have been half decent after all.
Working in an industry founded on creativity and evolution, now more than ever one must use that creativity in the control and management of our costs and exercise the power of restraint when approaching buying budgets.
The past few seasons have seen both store budgets and controllable costs shaved in tandem with the erosion in high street confidence and footfall.
Only now does there appear to be an acorn of optimism that the indies and their unwavering belief in the high street could be rewarded for the fruits of their passion, vision, bravery and tireless energies.
Mentioning bravery, I like that many indies have done away with blanket reductions and mid-season offers in a bid to extend full-price trading, and to create a fair and trusting environment that customers can rely on.
Stock rotation is key to any healthy business and with the advent of multichannel shopping it is critical for indies to take advantage of stock swaps in a bid to keep those rails looking fresh and drive up sell-throughs.
We all need to clear our seasonal stocks, but let’s all hold our nerve and try to maximise prime selling periods with healthy, traditional, short and sharp twice-yearly Sales.