Independent retailers are hoping to make hay while the sun shines by maintaining full-price sales despite heavy discounting on the high street and online, with some topping up in-season stock to make the most of the July heatwave.
Suffolk-based unisex independent Javelin, with stores in Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury, reported strong trading last weekend at full price and is expecting more of the same. It has been buying more summer stock this week from short-order womenswear labels such as Closet and Glamorous.
Owner Jeremy Clayton said: “We were wondering whether to go on Sale last week as loads of people seemed to go earlier, but we put it back to July 11 and the good weather has come just at the right time.
“I think we’d have been disappointed if we’d gone earlier because we’re trying to squeeze the last bit of margin out of it.”
Ian Gardiner, director at premium menswear indie Pritchards in Hereford, said: “We won’t start our Sale until the second week in August because an end of season Sale should be exactly that in my eyes. We were up 12% on last June without reducing margin so it seems to be working.”
He said trading was being hit online as others with the same brands are discounting already, but the store was lucky as “we don’t have a House of Fraser or John Lewis nearby so we’re not under as much pressure to follow suit”.
However, others felt they had to keep pace with local and online competition by discounting earlier than they would like.
Northwest young fashion indie Hurley launched a Sale in its two stores in Wigan and Bolton and online on June 13, the same week as last year but a week earlier than in previous years, to keep up with competition online.
“We felt like we missed out a couple of years ago so moved the Sale forward. I’d rather go a lot later but you can’t get away with it online and then it isn’t fair to customers in store if you don’t do it in the shops too,” said co-owner Mark Hurley.
Women’s occasionwear independent Maureen Cookson started its Sale at the same time as last year on July 2 but is only reducing current summer stock by a third after a good season.
“We haven’t individually priced everything as we usually do – and we’re only heavily reducing aged stock,” said owner Hilary Cookson.