More than a third of indies have seen profits grow over the last year, and a quarter steady with 2011, despite the tough economy.
In a survey carried out by Drapers 38.5% of indies said 2012 had been more profitable than 2011. There was mixed fortune across the industry however with 30.8% reporting a less profitable year and 26.9% the same.
But below the headline figures, it appears much of that growth has come from cost-cutting rather than a successful year of trading.
Hereford young fashion indie Fit’s managing director Luke Conod said: “It’s been down to looking at every expense cutting it and then cutting it some more. That has combined with reducing our pre-book budget and saving more for in-season buys and then targeting brands and styles that are performing well.”
The economy has been the greatest challenge for retailers over the last year with 46.5% of indies stating it was the biggest issue. Discounting was another big issue for indies with 23.9% seeing it as the biggest issue, closely followed by grappling with digital challenges with 22.5%.
Almost half of all respondents were optimistic about the coming year with 49.5% saying they think their business will grow in 2013.
Conod added: “I feel it will be another tough year on the high street but as a business we are well positioned to weather the storm and to improve our profitability further.”
Online will also be a key focus for indies in the new year with 26% of those surveyed saying they would develop their ecommerce offering in 2013. A further 10.4% said they would launch an ecommerce offer next year.