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Less is more for women’s indies

Now that’s interesting. Independents have gained market share in womenswear against the multiples. According to exclusive figures given to Drapers by retail research firm TNS Worldpanel, independents now command 7.5% of the womenswear market, up from 6.7% this time last year (see page 10 for details).

I suppose we shouldn’t be terribly surprised, but in some respects it is comforting to see firm evidence of what so many indies wanted to believe, that in tough times shoppers really do gravitate towards those retailers that make them feel OK, good even, about parting with their hard-earned cash. And such retailers tend to be indies with their more difficult to come by labels and greater levels of personal customer service.

It makes sense. When cash is more free-flowing shoppers are bound to be less choosy about how and where they spend it. As if to underscore the point, this ray of light for
indies contrasts sharply with news from the high street this week.

The British Retail Consortium has recorded the 11th drop in fashion sales in the past 12 months; total retail sales are down 2.2% on this time last year, according to the BRC, and the clothing market is particularly “poor”, with the shoppers that do brave the gloomy weather drifting towards the value end of the market or seeking out discounts.
So, shoppers are either spending more on less or less on more. Or, worst of all, less on less.

The big difference between now and this time last year is that what shoppers are spending now is their own money and not some easily obtainable credit. They are bound to be more discerning when that is the case.

Lauretta Roberts Editor

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