Hat retailers and millinery brands reported pressure on the middle market following the sector’s biggest-selling event of the year in the UK, Royal Ascot.
Suzanne Bettley, director of Peter Bettley Hats, sells to retailers and directly to the public via hat events at racecourses prior to Royal Ascot. She said: “On direct sales, entry -price fascinators are bestsellers and so are the really special and unique £450 to £500 hats. Anything in the £100 to £200 price point is not selling so well.”
Debenhams’ fascinators and hats are priced from £15 to £75 and the department store retailer is building market share in millinery. Senior occasionwear merchandiser Alex Cooper told Drapers: “Customers have been leaving their purchasing decisions to the last minute this year with fascinators getting bigger and more flamboyant. In hats, the saucer disc shape has been our bestseller and we expect those trends to build next season. Shades of pink, red, deep lime and purple have sold particularly well.”
Vivien Sheriff, director of the eponymous hat label, said she saw the market polarising between high street multiples, which sourced mostly from China, and the more bespoke £300-plus end of the market. Sheriff said key trends to watch out for in spring 10 were the return of the lower-crowned hat as sported by the Queen on Derby Day. Bettley’s tips for 2010 were bell-shaped 1950s-style brims.