Occasionwear indies across the UK and Ireland have reported an increase in sales this wedding season, compared with last year, despite a slowdown in consumer confidence.
Occasionwear boutique owners told Drapers shoppers are spending more on quality, investment pieces, despite the economic uncertainty.
“We’re up 3% or 4% on this time last year,” said Louis Copeland, owner of the eponymous Irish menswear business. “Things are a bit more positive than they have been. There’s a better mood out there.
“The worry over Brexit hit confidence a bit, but it hasn’t affected us yet. Shoppers aren’t as price conscious as they once were and they are willing to spend on quality.”
Louise Brown, manager of Catwalk in Falkirk, Scotland, agreed that business had picked up this summer: “It has been a fantastic season for us. We seem up be a lot busier and sales are up marginally. With our Scottish weather the traditional mother-of the-bride dress and jacket combination is still really strong for us.”
However, some retailers said shoppers were opting for more casual or versatile pieces they can wear more than once.
“We’re seeing more dress-only buys this year,” said Elaine Murrihy, manager of Ela Maria in Newcastle West, County Limerick. “Women are looking for something a little simpler, nothing too shiny or without a matching jacket. They still want something special but not as fussy and they aren’t worried about the cost.”
This was echoed by Jane Kingsley, director of Jane Young in Newark, Nottinghamshire: “People want something they can wear again. It’s not as traditional as it used to be.”
Brian Smith, owner of Leaf Clothing in Newcastle Upon Tyne, said: “Some guys are opting to just buy the jacket and a waistcoat rather than a full suit, which is new this year. They are going a bit more casual so they can wear it again. The season is going really well for us, as good as last year if not better.”