Most premium indies will avoid hiking up prices for spring 10, despite increased prices from some bands.
Some brands are raising prices to offset costs incurred by the recent weakness of sterling. However, many of the premium indies polled by Drapers this week said passing on the price rise would have too detrimental an effect on customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Mark Radford, manager of indie department store Hoopers in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said: “Customers are spending with us because we offer good value in these tough economic times, so we don’t want to put prices up now.”
Steve Sanderson, co-owner of Oi Polloi in Manchester, said: “The exchange rate is better so it’s less of a problem. We just tell brands that if we have to put up prices it will kill the brand, but it depends on what the brand is.”
However, Giulio Cinque, owner of Giulio in Cambridge, said he would increase prices. “Some brands are getting more expensive and we still need margin. Shoppers have become too used to a freebie, but the quality and value are still there.”
Some retailers also said they would look to take on more unusual and exclusive brands to create a stronger point of difference from competitors.
Jason Robertson, store manager of menswear shop Pure in Aberdeen, said: “People moan when stores stick to what has worked in the past. You’ve got to try something new.”
However, some indies were feeling the effects of the weakness of the sterling compared to the euro and the dollar.
Samantha Robinson, co-owner of The Cross in Notting Hill, west London, said: “We’ve made a concerted effort to buy more British brands and less from the US and Europe.”