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Budgets on a tight leash at womenswear indies

Womenswear indies will remain cautious for autumn 10, keeping budgets flat despite rising sales. Indies across the mainstream, contemporary and premium sectors told Drapers they would be buying into strong colour and luxe fabrics for autumn 10.

They will also be seeking out brands that can consistently provide newness to keep customers loyal.

Womenswear indies said they would back versatile dresses, dark denim, chunky knitwear, fur and bright colours such as electric blue and hot pink for autumn 10.

Lucy Whittaker, store manager of contemporary indie Marmalade in Axminster, Devon, said: “We need new brands to keep the interest up. We’ll be looking at Darling and other slightly younger brands to add to our classic offer. We’ll also take less occasionwear and look for dresses and jackets that can work from day through to evening.”

Pauline Tyrer, manager of mainstream indie Fall Woman in Knutsford, Cheshire, also said she would cut back on occasionwear in favour of more versatile pieces. “Our customers aren’t buying into skirts at the moment so I’m looking for more skinny-cut trousers and boxy jackets. I’m backing lace, fur and luxe fabrics and will be looking for some bright jewel colours to lift the greys and blacks,” she said.

Colour is also high on the agenda for autumn 10 at mainstream indie Aria in Sunderland. Owner Luisa Minchella said: “We were left with lots of black last season, which we had to put on Sale.”

Despite the fact that most womenswear indies said they felt consumer confidence was returning and they expected spending for spring 10 to be up on spring 09, most will keep their budgets flat.

Katie Canvin, owner of premium indie Austique in Chelsea, west London, said: “I bought carefully last year and kept stock levels low, which boosted profits. I’m confident as long as we focus on stock levels.”

Tyrer said she would keep budgets static, but added: “We probably won’t do in-season buying because it’s hard to find quality brands that offer it.

I’ll try to pick up some capsule collections to ensure newness.”

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