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Recycling helps indies to solve Sale worries

Indicator - Contemporary menswear

Sale product was dominant on the shop floors of the independent menswear retailers polled for this week's Indicator. With more than 80% of retail space devoted to discounted items, many outlets were in the thick of shifting unsold styles. The heftiest markdowns approached 50%, but most retailers said they would end their Sale by February and were far from panicking.

Andrew Hobbs, partner at Jeremy Hobbs in Cobham, said male conservatism meant that most styles could be re-merchandised. "In terms of style, while women like to be forerunners, men like to have reassurance that they're wearing the right thing," he said. " They may see something on somebody else that they think looks good, but by the time they've decided to buy it we've moved into the next season. So if items haven't sold, we put them out in the next equivalent season and generally they go for full price."

According to David Berryman, manager of McKillens in Ballymena, men's style is accommodatingly non-seasonal. "Because a lot of products are fairly classic and plain, we can merchandise them in next year's collection. Only if it's dramatically different do we have to discount it," he said.

However, that conservatism is not reflected in the accessories market, particularly for younger shoppers. Keith Patient, manager of John Douglas menswear in Macclesfield, said that although the older generation thought indoor scarf wearing was a bit too dandy, the younger customers were attracted to contemporary product. "Thankfully the younger generation understands the fashion concept and they bought scarves like hot cakes," he said.

TOP 10

Name your best-selling brand of the week

1. Gant

2. Polo Ralph Lauren

3. Sand

4. Paul & Shark

5. Boss Black

6. Camel Active

7. Pal Zileri

8. Florentino

9. Faaonnable

10. Tommy Hilfiger

TOP 5

Name your best-selling style of the week

1. Shirts

2. Knitwear

3. Outerwear

4. Jeans

5. Trousers

TOP 5

Name your best-selling contemporary knitwear brand of the week

1. Gant

2. Gran Sasso

3. Paul & Shark

4. Polo Ralph Lauren

5. Boss Black

What is the most expensive item you have sold in store this week?

£1,348 - Torres cashmere-lined leather coat at Louis Copeland in Dublin

FASHION IN FIGURES

How does your week's business compare with this time last year?

53% Better

20% Same

Worse 27%

JANUARY SALES

When will your post-Christmas Sale end?

Mid-January 8%

End of January 50%

Mid-February 23%

End of February 8%

Not on sale 11%

Which brand had the best sell-through for autumn 06?

1. Gant

2. Paul & Shark

3. Sand

4. Camel Active

5. Boss Black

On average, what percentage of your shop floor is taken up by Sale product? 81%

What is your biggest Sale markdown? 46%

What will you do with Sale stock that does not sell?

1. Put it into next year's Sale

2. Clearance Sale

3. Put it into next year's stock

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Which brand do you predict will be the biggest commercial success for spring 07?

1. Gant

2. Tommy Hilfiger

3. Paul & Shark

4. Boss Black

5. Polo Ralph Lauren

Which trade shows are you planning to visit for autumn 07 buying?

None 43%

Pitti Uomo 23%

Moda 18%

Bread & Butter 5%

Other 23%

What is dictating your choice of trade shows this season?

Product content 48%

Location 38%

Habit 7%

Word of mouth 7%

Do you think fine knitwear will continue to drive sales for spring 07?

Yes 57%

No 43%

On average, what percentage of your brands offer a stock or in-season service? 49%

Drapers spoke to 50 independents about their contemporary menswear business for the week ending January 6. Brands and styles appearing in the lists, including the Top 10 and Top 5, are ranked when mentioned by five or more retailers.

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