Budgets look set to remain tight and transeasonal pieces are a must-buy, as increasingly unpredictable weather gives independents plenty to think about ahead of the spring 17 buying season.
With buying kicking off in June at London Collections Men and menswear trade show Pitti Uomo in Florence, indies are thinking about how profits have been affected by the weather so far this year and how to safeguard against similar problems in 2017.
Jeremy Clayton, director at unisex retailer Javelin in Ipswich, said transeasonal pieces such as “lightweight knits and long-sleeved T-shirts” are the order of the day for next spring.
“The weather’s been a major issue this year and it’s been tough going, although I’m much happier now than I was three weeks ago. In terms of high summer pieces, it’s just a case of keeping it tight and being ready to get stock in quickly if the weather does suddenly pick up.”
Paula Jauncey, owner of Worcester womenswear boutique Emporio Clothing, is planning to cut buying budgets for spring because of the poor weather, but she hopes new ranges will help sales to pick up.
“We’re looking at blazers and multi-purpose jackets for next spring,” she said. “We feel there’s a real gap in the market there. Lots of people come in asking for something they can wear with their jeans and can’t always get it. This season Charli has done very well because it makes good transeasonal clothes that are well priced.”
“We’re lucky in that we’re a growing business, so we’ll be looking to up our budgets by about 5% next year, which is about normal for us,” adds Yvette Davies, owner of womenswear indie Thirty Three Boutique in Lymington, Hampshire.
“Unfortunately, the one thing we can’t predict is the weather and, if you commit too much to one line, it’s easy to get your fingers burnt. High summer pieces such as linens are very high risk, although people do buy them for holidays.
“Cashmere is very much the thing this year – people seem to be into high-quality layers. Brands that have done well include Crea and Weekend Max Mara.”
Denise Potter, owner of womenswear indie Darcy B in Woodbridge, predicted the store’s budget would stay around the same for spring 2017, but she worried about the willingness of shoppers to loosen the purse strings.
“People are still reticent to spend generally, which obviously we hope will change next year,” she said.
One brand that had been flying off the racks in men’s and women’s wear store Fit in Hereford was Nicce, said managing director Luke Conod.
“That’s been really hot for us, so we’ll definitely be buying deeper into that next year,” he said. “Our overall budget is flat, although we keep around 10% back to buy into new brands every season.”