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Contemporary Indicator, December 13 2014

What’s selling now in the world of contemporary fashion?


Emma Fletcher Owner of Cavells in Rutland, East Midlands

“We try to introduce four to five new brands every season to maintain customer interest, like Hauber, which is new for autumn 14. Its knit collection has been extremely popular (from £175). We have also seen strong demand for the Brax trouser range (from £99.95) and T-shirts from Marc Cain (£95 to £145).”

Pippa Bergson Owner of Focus Organic in Halesworth, Suffolk

“We usually introduce at least one brand a year. In 2015, we’ll add a dress designer as dresses from The Masai Clothing Company (£80) have been top sellers since we launched the brand for spring 14. Dresses by Adini (£40) and Irelands Eye knitwear (£100) are also strong.”

Cassie Le Marchand Owner of Fleur in Aldeburgh, Suffolk

“For autumn 14, we’ve had great success with day-to-evening wear dresses from Sandwich (from £89), knitwear from Part Two (£74.95)
and Intown cords (£56).”

Felicity Slater Owner of Vanilla in Rutland, East Midlands

“Mac jeans (£99 to £110) are doinggreat and, despite generally weaker sales compared with previous autumn seasons, jeans sales are consistent all year round. Dresses from Marie Méro (£195) and InWear (£129.95) are bestsellers this season. Customers love the pretty lace styles.”

Roberta Jackson Owner of Agatha in Lincoln

“Our bright Ted Baker coats (£299 to £400) and monochrome printed Paul Smith trousers (from £299) have been extremely popular. As an independent boutique, we rely on strong consumer loyalty and use Twitter and Facebook to build up anticipation of new brands in store, such as Vilagallo (wool products from £125) which launched at the end of spring 14.”

Nicola Scott Owner of Bunty & Co in Pocklington, North Yorkshire

“Our Nümph coats (£105 to £130) have always been popular, particularly now the weather has turned colder. Plain and printed T-shirts from our own label, Bunty & Co, remain our top sellers all year round (from £15). Mark-up is extremely important - we typically look to achieve at least 2.5%, increasing 3% on own-brand products.”

Dana James Manager of Anna Perena in Glossop, Derbyshire

“Intown knitwear (from £55), The Masai Clothing Company tunics (£50 to £75) and Sandwich dresses (starting at £90) are our three bestsellers for autumn 14. Our market performance and footfall is lower than in autumn 13 as customers expect us to keep up with trends, whereas consistent fabric quality is far more important to us.”

Chad vinodchadda Owner of Empire Designerwear in Grantham, Lincolnshire

“Bestsellers are Glamorous, AX Paris and Little Mistress dresses (all £30 to £50). The empty shops along the high street are a big issue, making things very downbeat. The cost and lack of parking is also a problem. We expect things to pick up before Christmas, but not as much as last year.”


Andy Swain Manager of Real Clothing in Southwell, Nottinghamshire

“We’re expecting sales to pick up as Christmas draws nearer. Customers return to us because they know we stock smart-casual items such as Polo Ralph Lauren shirts (£80 to £90), Gant jumpers (£100) and Barbour jackets (£300).”

Richard Maddison Manager of Elliotts of Lymington, Hampshire

“We’re selling more casualwear than ever and have definitely seen a rise in contemporary fashion. For example, men are pairing sports jackets with jeans and a casual shirt, aiming to ‘dress down’ their look. Shirts from Gant (£90) and Tommy Hilfiger (£85) are being worn with our popular Timberland boots (£90.”

Charles Barker Managing director of Barkers in Northallerton, North Yorkshire

“We used to sell a lot of suits and formal clothing, but the rise of contemporary and casualwear has changed customer needs. Now suits only make up around 5% of our sales. Ralph Lauren’s golf range is selling well, particularly shirts and trousers (from £90 to £100) and, as we’re based in a country area, Magee tweed jackets are a consistent bestseller (£290 to £320).”

Jason Schiller Owner of Evolution Clothing in Barnstaple, Devon

“We’re struggling to compete with online retailers mainly due to the costs associated with owning and maintaining a store, as we do not have a transactional website. Saying that, Tommy Hilfiger jackets (£300) and knitwear from Gant (£90 to £100) are in high demand.”

Jamie Heins Manager of Zakz in Brentwood, Essex

“Our Gant coats (£315), Barbour jackets (£250) and complete Lyle & Scott tracksuits (£120) are doing really well right now. Being close to Lakeside shopping centre really helps since they spend a lot on advertising to draw people in. We did fantastically well on Black Friday, however we suffered for it the week after. Knitwear has been a lot slower because of the slightly warmer weather.”

Matthew Rawlings Managing director of Coes in Ipswich

“Our sales have risen as the colder weather means customers are buying heavier outerwear from Boss Orange (£400) and knitwear from Gant (£90 to £125). Our younger customers are wearing contemporary casual jackets over their slim-fit suits, so we’ve had some success with lighter-weight jackets from Ted Baker (£175 to £199).”

Nigel Burton Owner of Parkes in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

“Our autumn 14 stock is flying off the shelves because of the cold weather. Our bestsellers are Eton shirts (£130), Hugo Boss jeans (£140) and Armani Jeans knitwear (£140).”

Craig Armstrong Owner of Armstrong & Kingston in Enniskillen, Fermanagh

“Sales have been on the rise, especially men’s jackets. Brands such as Gant, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger (all priced from £230 to £375) have been selling well. We believe this is due to the weather turning colder.”

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