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Shoppers seek quality as average spend lifts

Contemporary womenswear indies say average shopper spend has risen as customers place a stronger emphasis on quality over price.

Research from Drapers’ Indicator survey this week found that 59% of contemporary womenswear cust-omers are prioritising quality above price or trend when shopping.

Emma Fletcher, assistant buyer at Cavells in Oakham, Rutland, which stocks brands including French Connection and Marc Cain, said: “Our customers are more focused on quality than price or trend at the moment, because they have got used to buying cautiously and are looking for things that will provide value by lasting longer.”

Average spend per customer was considerably up year on year for contemporary womenswear indies, at £148.88 compared with £117 when Drapers polled them in the same week last year, when customers were spending cautiously as the financial crisis was in its infancy. This November, contemporary indies told Drapers that confidence was returning to the contemporary womenswear sector.

Nicola Scott, owner of Bunty & Co in Pocklington, East Yorkshire, which stocks brands including Ichi and Kate Fearnley, said: “Average spend is up because people are willing to spend on pieces that offer quality and trend but with a point of difference from the high street.”

Tracey Rose, owner of Mia in Sidmouth, Devon, added: “Last year people seemed to be saving their money and buying a new top or bottoms to pair with an outfit they already had. This year they are making up for it by investing in new clothes for the colder weather.”

Although individual customers are spending more, many contemporary indies said that footfall had fallen recently as fewer shoppers came in to browse. Lara Heleyal, owner of Cicily B in Putney, London, which stocks brands including Odd Molly and Nolita, said: “Footfall is slightly down on last year but people are coming in for a reason and more of them are buying.”

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