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Colette O'Brien

Owner of contemporary womenswear indie Madison in Foxrock, Dublin

Brands include Fenn Wright Manson, Linea Rafaelli, Penny Black

How is trade at the moment?

It continues to be quite sluggish. The major declines we saw in late 2008 and early 2009 seem to have halted though and sales are now running at approximately the same level as at this time last year.

How are you feeling about autumn 10?

It’s expected in the Republic of Ireland that a minor improvement will begin in autumn 10, so I think things will start to pick up but the season will be make or break for many small retailers.

Have early summer Sales at department stores affected your business?

The early Sales calendar is a major threat to indies as it makes the selling season very short. While department stores chase cash flow, they continue to damage the smaller shops’ efforts to be profitable.

What’s the biggest challenge affecting your business at the moment?

The negative mindset in the market. While the major crises in the economy may have been dealt with, people are still not spending.

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