Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Positive Christmas for indies despite high street discounting

Independent fashion retailers across the UK and Ireland had a generally positive Christmas, but some said “early and aggressive” discounting on the high street hit their bottom line.

Many indies Drapers spoke to this week said sales over Christmas and into January were slightly up on or flat against the previous year.

Louis Copeland, owner of the eponymous men’s tailoring business in Dublin, said: “We had a good Christmas overall. Business came later than normal this year as it fell later in the week, but it did come. We were up a few percent on last year.”

Vince Clark, owner of menswear indie The Priory, which has two stores in Bridlington, Yorkshire, added: “Our Christmas trading held up pretty well, with store sales up and online pretty much flat. In general it feels like the economic environment is better and there’s more cash around, with people wanting to buy better but less.”

Denise Potter, owner of womenswear retailer Darcy B in Woodbridge, Suffolk, said: “It wasn’t too bad at all. Sales of high-winter items like heavy coats weren’t good, but separates and party dresses did very well. The Sale, which started on December 29, is going well but we are selling more full-price stock than Sale this week.”

However, Potter said early discounting from department stores had a negative impact on sales. “One shopper bought a dress from us one Friday and she got an email from Harrods on the Sunday saying it was 40% off so we had to price-match,” she explained.

Charles Clinkard, owner of the eponymous footwear chain, agreed that early Sales had hampered trade: “The run-up to Christmas was poor. We were hit by deep and aggressive discounting at Jones Bootmaker, which had up to 70% off, and Clarks, which had 50% off. They have lots of excess stock due to the mild weather, so that has compounded the issue.”

Kim Jackson, owner of kids’ footwear retailer Klodhoppers in Hove and Haywards Heath, Sussex, said: “We had to start our Sale just before Christmas, whether we liked it or not, as everyone on the high street was doing it.

“Shoppers are expecting a bargain, so when the big boys like Clarks go early, we have to be seen to be competing as there is only a certain amount in the pot to be spent.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • Ever since we started selling high end European fashion( ie Escada and Max Mara etc) over 40 years ago we found many of our customers travelled to the states so we had to start our winter sale on the last Saturday in November otherwise as our clients would buy these collections in the states then.
    Most independents selling higher price items start taking delivery end of May beginning of June for winter so by end of November they have been in stock for 6 months, many of us have started our sales then for many years so why this shock horror reaction from your journal, surely you understand the trade by now !!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • darren hoggett

    This season should be a lesson for retailers who consistently lump themselves up with heavy products which are also taken in far too early from pressure from their suppliers. This practise makes no financial sense. We do not have very cold winters anymore and usually they want coats after Xmas, when the trade is obsessed with delivering summer products that very few customers is interested in.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.