Another round of seasonal reductions on the high street only two weeks after the mid-season Sales leads me to think that multiples must believe we are heading for a slowdown. But I’m not convinced. We’ve had a good start to spring, held back only in the past couple of weeks by half term holidays and six inches of snow.
Anyway, thinking about what any slowdown in the economy would mean to us, I wanted to focus on the positive. First, if homes do start to become more affordable to new buyers, it will be a good thing for the future and for the next generation of our customers.
Also I would love to see the demise of throwaway fashion and a return to quality product and investment dressing, which I am sure will come as people think more about what they are spending.
Finally, a slowdown will redress the balance of power between retail tenants and landlords, which is vital to allowing new indies to get onto the high street.
We have just concluded a protracted rent review on one of our units, where we asked an independent expert to adjudicate. Our landlord wanted to almost double the rent and among the more ridiculous of his arguments was that we could sub-let our stock room as office space, even though it has no separate access.
The adjudicator agreed with us on all four points of contention and decided the rent at a level lower than my original offer. The landlord also had to pay the full costs. So you see David can beat Goliath, and this will happen more and more if the going gets tough on the high street.
Bashir Mohammed owns independent designer business American Pie. He runs nine stores in West London, including Pie Woman at Heathrow Airport