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Val Gray

Drapers probe leading Independents to get their View From The Shop floor.

How is trade at the moment?
It’s not too bad and better than we expected. Sales are fairly steady, so we’re about the same as last year. Our Oban store is slipping a bit because people aren’t travelling that far.

Which brands are selling well?
The higher-end brands are doing well for us, like Oscar and Impr鶵, because that end of the market hasn’t been hit as hard by the current economic conditions. We also stock some small Irish designers such as Mary Grant and N&C Kilkenny, which are doing very well. Customers are looking for unique pieces with a difference, not high-end fashion. They want, well cut, quality, standalone clothes. They want something quirky but timeless.

Which are the biggest trends in womenswear at the moment?
Quirky designs, such as asymmetrical shapes, and colour are big for us.

How confident are you about business next year?
I’m feeling OK. You have to be cautious in the current climate, but I’m still fairly confident. I was expecting things to be tough, so I made sure I bought quality, timeless pieces that people are prepared to pay for. I’m lucky though as I don’t have much competition, so we have that edge.

Are your budgets up or down for next year?
They’re about the same; I’m not overly concerned. I’ve bought carefully for next year.

Do you have a transactional website?
No, and I won’t be getting one. I believe in the personal touch. Getting a website would be like shooting myself in the foot.

Val Gray is owner of two-store classic womenswear indie Desirables in Callander and Oban, Scotland.

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