Independents’ bestsellers: mainstream footwear
Fran Mayne, sales assistant at Spry’s in Bude, Cornwall
Our bestselling brand is Dr Martens (£85-£135). They are such a staple, no matter what the season is. Rieker ankle boots (£55-£95) and Remonte shoes (£35-£75) have been up there with our bestsellers too, but these brands remain in demand year round for us. We are located in a seaside town, so the lasting good weather has affected trade a great deal here. We’ve seen an increase in footfall and an increased willingness to spend from customers. We get a lot of tourists as well as locals at Spry’s. We are a family-run shoe shop, with a great reputation, which seems to do really well for us as an independent footwear retailer.
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Anne Piniecki, owner of Niki-Lu’s Boots and Shoes in Rugby, Warwickshire
Rugby is a difficult place for independents right now. We’ve just had a big, out-of-town retail park being built with a large Marks & Spencer store, which has taken a lot of trade from the town centre. We are still doing well, though, even with the new competition. Our most popular women’s shoes currently are Geox (£85-£150) – the moccasin style (£90) is selling particularly well. Think boots (£149-£299) have also done well, as has the Fly London Pump style (£79.99).
Jane Wakling, sales assistant at Cameo Shoes in Louth, Lincolnshire
Our bestsellers right now are Gabor flat shoes and ankle boots (£40-£89.99), Caprice (£69.99-£140), which is always popular because of the variety of styles and wide-fit options, and Alpina heeled sandals (£24.99-£69.99). We have quite an accessible entry price point, and we sell a growing range of accessories, such as handbags, to match shoes and complete an outfit. We pride ourselves on the personal, friendly experience that we offer our customers and are rewarded for that with loyalty and regular custom.
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Dana Puroviciute, sales assistant at Harveys department store in Halifax, West Yorkshire
We started stocking Havaianas flipflops (£19.99-£29.99) this year, which proved really popular over the summer, so we are looking at stocking some of the Havaianas welllingtons (£45) now for the colder, wetter, months. Our other bestsellers are Rieker shoes (£52-£62) and ankle boots (£54-£85), and pieces from Gabor (£65-£160). We have a lot of regular, local customers, but trade does seem to be slower than last year. The weather has been too warm for people to invest in knee-boots, which typically make up a large proportion of our sales around this time of year. Now it is starting to get colder though, we have had a slight increase in sales.
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Chris Hart, managing director of Charles Ager in Coventry
Clarks formal shoes, especially the ‘Tilden cap’ and ‘Tilden plain’ lines (£50), are doing really well for us at the moment as are more casual styles from Rieker (£60-65), and Skechers (£52-£77), are also up among our best-sellers. The late summer has been quite tough for us. Customers are expecting to pay reduced prices for products that are still technically in season. We’re based on the outskirts of town, where footfall has fallen 40% on previous years and right now we’re surrounded by empty shops. BHS, Co-op and Allied Carpet stores have all closed within a close proximity to our store.
David Gummers, managing director of F Dickinson in Ulverston, Cumbria
Our best-sellers are Anatomic & Co lace-ups (£120-£140), Barker Shoes brogues (£150-£290) and UKD shoes (£49.99-£79.99). Up until the end of May, trade was good for us. After the Brexit referendum, there was a dip for about six weeks, but it is starting to pick up again now. Ulverston is a beautiful, quaint market town with lots of character, but it does need to evolve. There seems to be a lot of resistance to change in the local community, which can be quite frustrating. The town hosts a Dickensian Christmas festival every year but it’s important, especially for businesses like ours, that the local area develops and progresses; to make people want to visit year round, too.
Barbara Leyland, co-owner of Wigley’s Shoes in Ashbourne, Derbyshire
Tan loafers from Loake (£120-£240) and moccasin lace-ups from Pikolinos (£89.99) have been our best-performing products. The wide fit option in Josef Seibel shoes, both in lace-up and slip on styles, means that they are also very popular. We’re on the edge of the Peak District, so we do get quite a lot of tourists stopping by, and people travel a long way to visit us – even though we’re only located in a small town – as we’ve been here a long time and have built up a good reputation. This season we introduced Base London brogue and lace-up styles with rubber soles (£85), which have been really popular. Customers often take a while to warm up to new brands, but these have been selling really well.
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Gordon Braine, owner of Crichton Shoes in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire
Barker Shoes (£150-£220) is our number-one-selling brand. It’s a bit more expensive than most of the other lines we stock, but continues to be really popular. Other brands that sell well for us are Rieker (£50-£69.99) and Padders (£55-£80). Traditional styles from both brands sell regularly. As a town, Hamilton is deteriorating quickly. There are a lot of closed-down, empty shopfronts, which make it difficult to attract new visitors. We started stocking Base London (£69.99-£79.99) recently though, which is eye-catching in the window, has an accessible price point and seems to draw customers in. It’s selling really well at the moment and we hope that this continues.