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Spring weather warms up trade for indies

Contemporary independents in the southern half of England have reported an uptick in sales following warmer temperatures over the last couple of weeks.

Last month was the warmest March in the south of England for five years, the Met Office has reported, and temperatures continued to rise in April. Cambridge recorded the hottest day of the year so far on Sunday 9 April, when temperatures soared to 25 degrees.

Independent retailers told Drapers the sunnier weather had put a spring in the step of shoppers.

“We’ve had a really good March and April,” said Marc Lewis, co-founder of Brighton men’s and womens’s wear boutique Our Daily Edit. “The warmer weather has meant shoppers have started buying into the summer collections earlier, so it’s definitely a help.

“As soon as the clocks go forward, the tourists come down from London and it bolsters trade. It’s quite a buoyant and exciting time when the good weather emerges.”

Zoie Walker, director of men’s and women’s footwear, accessories and lifestyle store 32 The Guild in Northampton, agreed: “We’re definitely busier than we were this time last year. The good weather generally lifts everyone’s spirits.

“I’m very optimistic for the rest of the season. We are selling through two new online platforms, Trouva and Atterley, as well as on our own website. Sales are growing year on year as the business expands.”

Bristol men’s and women’s boutique Maze is finding that, despite an increase in prices, the individuality of its collections is driving an increase in sales.

“We are busier this year than we were last,” said head of retail Ele Brown. “Our two shops are in the affluent Clifton area, so we don’t tend to suffer as much as other stores. But our collections this season are really strong and people are spending more than they were last year, despite the slightly higher prices.”

Sales have also increased at The Hambledon in Winchester, in part as a result of the good weather.

Director Victoria Suffield is optimistic about the rest of the season, having taken precautionary steps over the autumn buying season: “For autumn we were a bit more cautious with buying, but not so much in spring. It’s such a long season for us, as we go on Sale late, so we have stock coming in throughout.”

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