Independents have squeezed their budgets heading into the autumn 20 trade shows, and will switch to more in-season orders, following a difficult period for sales.
As the autumn 20 trade show calendar kicked off with menswear show Pitti Uomo this week, independents told Drapers they would err on the side of caution for next season.
“I will be drastically changing the way I buy for next season,” said the owner of a womenswear independent store in the south of England. “I will only be placing forward orders with our very bestselling labels that I am totally sure about being able to sell well. I will be buying far more in season where there is a facility to do this.
“This last season has been very difficult, and I have to reduce the amount of stock we are holding. Everything seems to arrive at the beginning of a season and it makes cashflow impossible.”
Some said they were optimistic that the economic outlook would make things easier in 2020, but added that there were still “clouds on the horizon”.
“I am optimistic but I’m also cautious,” said Steve Cochrane, owner of Psyche department store in Middlesbrough, who aims to decrease his main season budget by 15%-20% and also move to buying more in season.
“I think the economic outlook for the country and the majority government is going to make things easier, but there’s still a lot of clouds on the horizon before we get back to pre-Brexit figures.”
Debra McCann, owner of independent The Mercantile in east London, said she would also be looking at more British brands for autumn: “To be realistic, we have to be cautious because we don’t know what duty tariffs we’ll have.
“And going into buying, we will be looking more at British brands, just to be cautious, and maybe also look at more sustainable brands because we have done particularly well with those.
“Budgets won’t go up. We’ll save a little bit more for in-season buying so we can be a bit more reactive, but of course, it’s very difficult to hold back budget for forward [buying] when a lot of brands don’t carry a huge amount of stock.”
Jo Davies, owner of womenswear independent Black White Denim in Cheshire, said her budgets would be “extremely tight” for the autumn season: “While we are trading down slightly [compared with last year], the store has been the hardest hit, and online sales continue to grow.
“Budgets for autumn 20 will be extremely tight and we will buy more tactically and react to the prevailing conditions as and when they hit us. This industry is nothing if not unpredictable.”