Young fashion may have been the sector’s saviour for the past 12 months – case in point another record performance from Sir Philip Green’s Topshop and Topman chains – but things haven’t been so smooth at this end of the market this autumn.
While this week’s colder weather has improved trade somewhat and the prospect of half-term coinciding with pay day has cheered some retailers, young shoppers are still grappling with all sorts of issues, from the late arrival of student grants through to not being able to find work as graduates.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that retailers have turned their attention to a new type of shopper – the Generation X 30-something woman, whose spend on fashion is actually growing.
This season we’ve witnessed the launch of Mint Velvet, GIVe, Anthropologie and new sub-brands from Marks & Spencer, Reiss and Hobbs, all gunning for these career-driven or yummy-mummy shoppers.
These women are the subject of our special seven-page report this week, which starts on p26. She is a new breed of shopper who has grown up on fast fashion and who is better educated than ever about not just trends, but also what suits her.
Her quest is for shopping convenience, plus quality pieces that nod to the catwalk, make her look sexy and wash well. It was disappointing to see that indies have already given up 0.5% of market share among 30 to 45-year-olds, given that they would seem best placed to meet her needs.
One thing’s for sure, serving the generation that is used to having it all is just about to get a whole lot more interesting.