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Premium sector feeling the pinch

The banking crisis hit the premium end of the market last week as trading nosedived further amid the economic doom and gloom.

The premium, designer and luxury sectors have so far held up well in the economic downturn but trade began to sink last week according to retailers contacted by Drapers.
One chief executive with high street standalones and department store concessions said: “We’re still in positive like-for-like territory and we seem to be taking market share. The top end of the market has fallen off a cliff in the past week. It’s caused panic with department stores as to what is going on.”

Another chief executive of a designer business said that last week he had suffered his toughest week of the autumn season so far and that this week had started badly too.
He said: “We had a horrible week. I don’t think it was a weather issue. It’s the media drumming up a recession which is slowing things down, but footfall was terrible everywhere.”

He added: “The comparable figures may have been skewed by half term falling on different dates but I think perhaps shoppers are starting to think about saving for Christmas which has hit October. I’m hoping for a spike in sales after pay weekend though.”

Meanwhile, young fashion and value sales are said to be holding up, with mainstream and mid-market shoppers increasingly trading down as their disposable income is squeezed further.

One value chain director said: “I’m not unhappy with where we are but it could get tougher. The past couple of weeks have been tough for the industry as a whole because it was the middle of the month and people were short of cash. Christmas is going to be really tough and very late.”

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