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Unique indies can deal with the pressure

With a new Government and an emergency Budget next Tuesday, VAT is predicted to rise to 20%.

With a new Government and an emergency Budget next Tuesday, VAT is predicted to rise to 20%.

All our retail prices for autumn 10, which have already been set on the computer, may be wrong. Should we run with it or increase the prices? Currency fluctuations are creating havoc when purchasing collections from abroad, making their retail price seem horrendous and, as a result, a buy British mentality has never been more sensible.

And what’s happening to our climate? Heatwave one minute, cashmere sweaters needed the next. This means swapping the cotton maxi dresses and Birkenstocks on the front rails one day for woollies and boots the next.

You travel the world in search of unique collections to ensure better margins, and are then squeezed the next season due to stores picking up these collections and selling them at a reduced price outside a recognised Sale period. There are secret Sales, mid-season Sales, promotional Sales, web Sales, and it’s not even summer. Due to an early Ramadan (or is it really only about cash flow?), stores are also going into early summer Sales. It’s dog eat dog.

These are challenging times and how do we sell more, we ask ourselves? With so much product available, we need to think about what we are giving the consumer beyond the product. What makes an indie retailer special? Focusing on that philosophy, coupled with working with a business development company which acts as a mentor to us, we feel able to cope with the chaos.

All these are the challenges that make us retailers think on our feet and wake up in the early hours with a ‘light bulb’ moment. It’s fast, exciting and ever-changing - it’s fashion.

Jan Shutt is chief executive of premium and young fashion womenswear indie Sunday Best in Rawtenstall, Lancashire

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