Here we are again, in the final weeks of the year which mark the culmination of 12 months of hard work. Christmas remains the most important time in the retail calendar and can make the difference between a good and a mediocre year.
On top of this, 2010 has already started for us at American Pie with resort ranges in store, while spring product has arrived in our warehouse.
At this time of year it is good to take stock and prepare for the year ahead. So how would I summarise things? Well, it seems to be a very good time for womenswear, with new looks, shapes and good new designers.
Menswear, on the other hand, is a bit dull with not much by way of new looks or new labels. My hope is that as the men usually lag a couple of seasons behind the women, this will change during 2010.
With the recession likely to be declared over (statistically at least) in January, I’d also ask suppliers to support us in other ways too. Please value the independent sector a bit more, don’t discount stock in season and work with us to promote your brand rather than flooding the market for a quick return. We could also benefit from payment terms somewhat closer to what the big boys demand.
There should continue to be good opportunities to expand in 2010 as landlords become more realistic, and start to understand the value of a retail mix rather than cloned high streets. I certainly think customers have gone back to an appreciation of the local retailer offering quality and service as well as individual product.
Overall, I’m pleased with how a difficult 2009 has gone and am looking forward to the challenges of a new year. Happy Christmas to you all.
- Bashir Mohammed is the owner of independent designer fashion business American Pie