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Nicky Hill

Drapers probes leading independents to get their View from the Shop Floor.

How is trade at the moment?
It’s tough, sales are down. The Cabot Circus shopping centre, which opened near us in September, coupled with the difficult market conditions, has made things tough for us.

Which brands are selling well for you?
We’ve got two new Italian jeans brands which are doing well - Met and J4. Denim is still one of the better-selling areas. SOS is one of our best-selling denim brands. Young women are still investing in a decent pair of jeans, but are pairing them with a slightly cheaper top.

What is your customer looking for, and how important is price?
Price is key at the moment, but customers should also consider the cost per wear. When you’re buying cheap items, how much wear can you actually get out of them before they fall apart? Probably only about two or three times, so it’s quite an expensive way of doing things. You get far more value out of a garment if you can wear it throughout the season.

What are the biggest challenges you face?
Getting the right footfall. With interest rates down, mortgages are cheaper and people do have a bit more money to spend, but it’s about getting the right customer into the store. We anticipated times would be tough when Cabot Circus opened, but the recession also hit us at about the same time, so it was a double whammy for us.

Nicky Hill is the owner of young fashion indie Fate Clothing in Bristol.
Brands include Diesel, Fullcircle, SOS

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