Independent retailers across the UK have enjoyed a sales boost over the past two weeks following the election of a majority Conservative government on May 7.
Sara Eresen, co-owner of King’s Road-based womenswear boutique Harvest, said: “We had one of our busiest ever weekends last weekend. It was quiet in the week or two running up to the election, but that’s to be expected.
“I definitely think the result has reassured people; they are feeling more confident and are spending again. Everything from day dresses to occasionwear sold really well.”
Matt Horstead, owner of menswear independent Dartagnan in Chichester, West Sussex, said: “The weekend after the election was average, but we had a spanking week last week, up 33% year on year and up 24% on our best ever week in May.
“The general consensus round here was that everyone wanted the result we got and now I think we’re going to see a positive summer.”
Neil Vernon, head of retail at menswear independent Dapper Street (formerly Badgers Menswear), which has four stores in Witney, Wantage and Abingdon in Oxfordshire and one in Newbury, Berkshire, said: “It was quieter on the day [of the election], but we had quite a good weekend immediately after; we had one lad spend £800.
“Last week was up around 10% year on year and it’s creeping up. Our Newbury branch was up 400% last week.”
However, he was more cautious about the outlook over the next few months: “The slowness of summer to start has been more of an issue than the election; people are only just starting to think about holidays.”
Men’s and women’s occasionwear and formalwear retailers reported a similar improvement in trading. Speaking to Drapers for our Indicator feature (see page 16), Pat Lewis, owner of The Copper Tree in Usk, Monmouthshire, said: “Spring 15 was our best season for five years due to greater consumer confidence.”