Drapers probe leading Independents to get their View From The Shop floor.
How is trade at the moment?
Trade is good. We are beating last year’s targets, introducing new products every season and boosting our collections, which has helped drive this uplift.
Are you feeling cautious or confident about next year?
I’m feeling confident; we’re looking to expand, with new brands and increased ranges. We’ve refitted our basement, increased the size of the footwear department and added an extra fitting room. We have a 400sq ft store across two floors on Tib Street in Manchester.
Are your buying budgets up or down?
Our budgets are up and we’ll be buying into more new brands.
Which trends are helping to drive business?
We’ve sold lots of boat shoes, narrow jeans and gingham shirts.
Which brands are selling well in your store?
Folk and Fjällräven – we’ll increase our buy in both brands next season.
Will you buy into any new brands for spring 09?
This season we’ve introduced Our Legacy, a Swedish brand – it’s only been in for a week and we’ve sold half the stock. Studio D’Artisan is also performing well. I’m looking to introduce five brands for next year, but I don’t want to disclose them yet.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
To get people through the door and increase footfall. Our location is out of the way, so we need to promote the store. We’ve got big-brand shops nearby, such as Hugo Boss and Jaeger, so we’re hoping to share some of their customers.
John Studley is manager of premium menswear independent Oi Polloi in Manchester.