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Moda buyers cut budgets despite strong start to year

Buyers and exhibitors at mainstream trade show Moda at Birmingham’s NEC this week were in a tentative mood, despite reporting that trade had got off to a robust start this year.

Exhibitors at the show, which covers womenswear, menswear and footwear, told Drapers that although buyers had reported a relatively good Christmas, some had cut budgets by up to 25%.

Several womenswear brands said they were concentrating on proven winners in terms of product and backing more fashion-led styles in their never-out-of-stock programmes to serve more cautious forward-order buyers.

Neil Hodgkinson, director of JS Levy, fashion agent for womenswear brands including Frank Usher, said: “Customers are backing the stronger collections.”

Many exhibitors said the weak pound was having a big impact, with most brands passing on some or all of their increased costs to buyers.

Some retailers reported a robust start to the season. Ali Kynaston-Mainwaring, owner of Alizari in Chester, said: “Saturday was the busiest day this year with sales driven by premium-priced new season stock.”

Volatile currency was also an issue for some at Moda Menswear. Peter Doyle, from indie Status Menswear in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, said: “Collections are costing us more. The show is quiet too.”

Other exhibitors said they were pleased with the footfall.

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