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'We are a trying-on shop for people buying online’

The number of people who are comparing my store prices to online prices is growing all the time.

The number of people who are comparing my store prices to online prices is growing all the time. It used to be just the younger crowd, but now even women in their late 50s are telling me they’ve seen this style or that style at a lower price. It’s not unusual for someone to come in with a style number, tell me they’ve seen it online and ask if they can see how it fits. We are a trying-on shop for people who buy online.

I don’t mind competition from other traditional retailers. There are about five or six other indies selling special occasion outfits in Harrogate, plus a couple of multiples.

But it’s the etailers that are distorting the market. I want to know what my suppliers are doing to police the prices that internet businesses are quoting. Wholesalers must take more responsibility for who they sell to.

It’s getting to the point where I might have to drop brands that don’t get a grip on the problem. I know they can’t legally impose a recommended retail price, but surely they can police more attentively the online sites that are ruining the market?

More and more people are also asking me for a discount to match an online price. I tell them that if they saw my rent and rates bills, they would be happy to pay me more than my asking price.

  • Carole Hilton-Stone, Owner of occasionwear indie Dressed of Harrogate, North Yorkshire

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