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Show visitors cheer later AIS deliveries

Visitors at AIS Womenswear welcomed the later phasing of the association's own-label deliveries, as cautious buyers sought more transitional product for autumn 07.

Independent department store buyers told Drapers that moving the deliveries for the First Avenue label a month later was more appropriate for changing weather patterns. They also praised the increased fashionability of separates and knitwear, with its more contemporary and younger styles.

Judy Gray, merchandising director of Bratt & Evans, which has two stores in Cheshire, said: "First Avenue has improved and is more in line with what customers want. Prices are competitive and give us a good margin, which is what we need at the moment. We've got the same budget but it's tough - there just isn't the same interest from shoppers."

AIS womenswear senior product developer Jackie Poncia said: "Deliveries in July and September have been moved a month later, so coats will be delivered in October rather than August or September. The more contemporary styles make up about half of the collection so far, and we want to push it to 60%. We can put eveningwear styles, such as velvet jackets, into the main collection and it works well."

Branded exhibitors also saw less interest in heavier weight items. Pomodoro director Hemant Puri said: "There's more interest in lightweight fabrics, but buyers are still cautious."

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