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‘The high street is changing, but we must look forward’

David Conaghan, Owner of young fashion indie Chocolate Clothing in Derry, Northern Ireland

This year alone has seen some of the biggest names in the fashion industry go to the wall. It just goes to show
how vicious and unpredictable this industry can be.

The economic downturn now dictates how people shop. With more and more people with less disposable income, they are shopping around a lot more, looking for the best price and insisting on discounts, free delivery, free returns etc, with no loyalty to brands or shops. From a retailer’s perspective this makes doing business a lot harder than it used to be.

Customers are now going for the cheaper option; even people with money are cutting back and making sacrifices in their fashion purchases, and going for brands that lack quality.

In the past few years, trading patterns have also completely changed on the high street. The busy trading days have gone. Online is on the increase and our high streets are filling up with pound shops, bookies, cafes and charity shops.

But you must be positive and proactive in your outlook and constantly adapt to the ever-shifting shopping habits of young consumers and give your customers exactly what they want. And in the words of 1990s Derry band D:Ream, things can only get better.

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