Several independents have increased their autumn 19 buying budgets, despite Brexit headwinds and tough competition on the high street, Drapers can reveal.
As the buying season kicks off, women’s and men’s wear independents have told Drapers they remain optimistic for the rest of 2019 and will be taking risks by investing in new brands after “fantastic” trading over Christmas.
“This year I definitely have a bigger spending budget – I aim for bigger each year,” said Deryane Tadd, owner of St Albans independent The Dressing Room. “A bigger budget means I can dip into new brands. I’m always looking for new brands and never tend to stick to bestsellers because playing it safe is a risky game in this business.
“Customers want newness. I tend to go to around 80 brand showrooms a season and really do the rounds in search for new ideas. I’ll be heading to Pure London and Scoop in the next few weeks.
“Last season also ended on a big high and has left me feeling optimistic about the season ahead. I have to be mindful with the changing times, such as Brexit, but I believe that, if you provide the best products, then customers will keep shopping with you.”
Zoie Walker, director of lifestyle store 32 The Guild in Northampton, echoed Tadd’s positive outlook on the season ahead: “Our spending budget is usually kept roughly the same, but this year I will be leaving a contingency in case there is stuff that I just have to purchase. I feel optimistic for the season ahead. For summer we’ll have more jumpers and layering garments, instead of strappy dresses and sandals.”
Debra McCann, owner of The Mercantile in London’s Spitalfields, is also upbeat and plans to increase its spending to buy new brands in the 1,500 sq ft store: “We will keep back a chunk of our in-season budget, but also increase our spending budget a little bit more for autumn 19. We’ve already been to shows in Berlin and Paris and will be heading to Copenhagen, Scoop and Pure London.”
She added: “It’s a challenging time for us indies with the likes of Brexit, coupled with the cold weather and early summer deliveries. But I feel particularly optimistic, and I am keeping positive because we have got a lot to offer and there is no point searching for the negatives.”
However, Julia Jaconelli, owner of womenswear independent Courtyard in Guildford, has gone against the spending tide and decided to reduce her budget for autumn 19: “I’m going to try to decrease my spending. I don’t really feel that the uncertainty of Brexit will stop our customers buying for the coming season. However, how it will affect pricing in the future is what worries me, particularly as I buy a lot of collections from Europe.”