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‘Should indies just sit quietly and accept a bad deal?’

Arron Moss, Co-founder of young fashion retailer Divine Trash in Buxton, Derbyshire.

After six years working on the finance side of the business, my greatest challenge has always been budgets. How do I improve the way buying budgets are determined? I’ve spent months trying to develop a method for controlling the distribution of budgets for brands based on historical sell-through.

After great progress, the concept got shattered. We received deliveries for brands we had invested heavily in due to success last season, and before we knew it the major retailers were slashing prices, having had the same stock several weeks earlier. This is a frequent occurrence. As if forward ordering isn’t hard enough. Large multiples have more buying and negotiating power, so are likely to receive stock earlier for the optimum stock turn and price.

To compound this disadvantage, we sought out short-order brands for fashion and accessories. In the past six months, two of the four short-order brands have contacted us to tell us to remove products from sale to maintain brand integrity, even though we are upholding suggested selling prices. How do indies have a chance? Do we simply sit quietly and accept what is effectively a bad deal?

In an industry where timing means everything, we’re going to try and reassess our relationship with brands.

Readers' comments (2)

  • darren hoggett

    My advice as an independent is to move away - in some cases not straight away - from brands that are heavily discounted elsewhere, with poor distribution and weak sales force.

    Stick to brands that will work with you, have integrity with quality distribution who provide solid 'untroubled' margins with a rep or agent who knows what they are doing.

    Multiples always have the cards stacked in there favour, but many are completely clueless on what their customers want, which will always give the well run Indie an edge.

    Darren Hoggett
    Co-Owner J&B Menswear Limited/Norwich

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  • I know buyers from a number of multiples and
    As an indie it always surprises me at how much many
    Brands are prepared to give , in terms of extended payment
    Terms , off invoice discount, retrospective discount,
    Mark down financial help, holding seasonal stock on
    an if needed basis, and paid adverts in store mags, some brands make little profit from trading with the big boys , but feel they have to be their, Compare these terms with an average indie offer , most indies wouldn't realise most of these inducements were available to the larger players

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