There are always bright spots even in the darkest days. While many of those we spoke to in the market this week are continuing to experience some of the toughest trading they’ve seen for decades, we also have news that at least one high street player - Reiss - is shrugging off the gloom and focusing on a pretty ambitious expansion programme.
The general consensus post-bank holiday weekend was that trading could have been better, but could also have been a lot worse. Falling just after pay day for many helped, and with rain pervading in most areas, full-price autumn 11 stock was favoured over the last of the spring 11 Sale stock, which helped increase spend per head. Indeed, many retailers said they saw fewer customers but those who did come in were spending more.
On the downside, the rush for school clothing and footwear has yet to materialise for some, although there is still another weekend to go before most schools return.
Either way, there was no one shouting about a tremendous uplift in trading, and many have already moved their focus sharply on to Christmas. Here’s hoping.
But before the doom and gloom overcomes you, back to this week’s bright spot, Reiss. This is a classic example of how entrepreneurial spirit, a great business plan and some impeccable timing can equal huge growth, even at a time when similar businesses are struggling. Sure, the endorsement of Kate Middleton could not have come at a better time, but that’s not to deny founder David Reiss his due credit.
He has certainly invested to accumulate - arguably the only way to go in this market - and the calibre of Reiss’s new recruits, all from serious high-profile designer brands, demonstrates just how respected Reiss has become. And if the Americans, Chinese and so on want to dress like Kate, David sure isn’t going to stand in their way.
Caroline Nodder Editor-in-Chief