Drapers probes leading independents to get their View from the Shop Floor.
How is trade at the moment?
It’s ok. The stores in the less affluent areas are actually performing better because those with mortgages and school fees [associated with more affluent areas] are feeling the economic pressure. Nursery is doing very well!
How is the kidswear market faring in the current climate?
It’s on par with last year but it will get worse. The suppliers we bought from for autumn 09 have put their prices up alot compared to autumn 08, because of the euro and everything else going on. Brands like D&G have put it up by 40%, Burberry have by 20%. The knock-on effect is very noticeable.
How are you feeling towards the summer?
I am optimistic; you have to be in this climate.
What are the biggest challenges facing the kidswear market?
It’s making sure that we are on par with our customer service and how we are perceived by customers. We need to make sure we are pro active and offer incentives. We spend a lot of time and money making sure we respond effectively to our customers.
Which brands are selling well in your store at the moment?
Armani Junior is doing exceptionally well; we are selling out of items. Energie sells well because it’s casual and understated. There is a demand for that. Trendy and high-end brands are doing well. People who are spending money are spending on particular key pieces. If people want bottom end they go elsewhere.
Are you buying into any new brands?
We have not bought any new brands apart from Scotch & Soda, which we bought in this season.
Which ages do you appeal to?
Ages two to eight, the teen market has sloped off.
Which age groups are performing well and why?
Clothing for two-years-olds as they are not in school yet and parents and grandparents don’t mind spending money on that age group. When they get to four, parents spend money on uniforms and not as much on other clothing. Two years is the best-selling age group for us.
Are kids growing up quicker - have you seen any major shift in trends/sizes?
A lot of the collections we sell are miniature versions of adults. Adults are buying what they would normally buy for themselves, but for their kids. Before there was a six-month lag between fashion in adults and kids, now it’s much shorter. What sells with adults will sell well for kids. The trend trickles down much quicker to kids. Brands aren’t a concern to customers; it’s about the look. The brand name does not dictate what customers buy.
Where do you see areas of growth for kidswear?
I think the internet is where the biggest growth is. That’s more apparent now then it ever was. People are more ready to shop online, that will have an impact on the kids market. [Etailer] Asos will launch kidswear, I think it’s imminent and that will have a big impact.
Are you introducing any new categories?
We have bought in to footwear more to complement the clothes we sell. If someone buys an outfit from Diesel, it’s easier for to sell the shoes that go with it.
Do you have transactional website?
Yes, it has been running for 10 years. It used to be a small percentage of the business, but now it’s at least 30%, it’s almost like another store
What can we expect from you next year?
We are opening a new shop next week in Battersea. We are expanding on our nursery wear market because people will always have kids. They won’t necessarily always buy clothing for themselves, but they will spend on nursery wear.
- Rahil Majid is the owner of kidswear independent Peppermint in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey, which stocks brands including Diesel, Baby Dior and Miss Sixty