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Indies report spring in their step

Independent retailers have bucked the trend of sluggish sales reporting a buoyant start to spring, as customers splash out on transitional pieces for the new season.

The retailer said events and new product had won over customers

The Dressing Room

The retailer said new product had won over customers

Retailers told Drapers that trade was up on last year and that fresh buys for the season were proving popular.

Deryane Tadd, owner of The Dressing Room at St Albans, said: “Spring has certainly sprung. We have been really busy since we launched our new season collections at the end of January both in store and online. Our customers are ready for new and exciting product, and our first phase [of products] are easy to buy now, wear now.”

Tadd added that like-for-like sales for the new season were “up by double digits” year on year.

It was a similar view for Pamela Shiffer, owner of the eponymous premium London boutique, who described trade as “buoyant”.  

“We’ve had a quite good start to the year since the spring collection started to arrive at the end of January. People are fed up with the grey weather and the winter, so when the new collection dropped we had a very good reaction to it.”

She said cited Zamback and Pinko as brands that had performed particularly well. Schiffer added that she was “optimistic” about spring and said that like-for-like sales were up year on year.

Pippa Sandison, owner of premium womenswear indie Boudoir Femme in Cambridge, told Drapers that like-for-like sales rose 20% from December to the end of February.

“The new collections are selling really well and trade has been pretty good. People are buying clothes for their holidays. We’ve got a dress brand called Nathalie Vleeschouwer that’s completely new for us and it’s selling well. Also, a new short-order knitwear brand called Amazing Woman has been a good, easy transitional brand.”

However, despite the sales rise, Sandison noted that the cold weather at the end of February meant trade had “tailed off” slightly.

In Middlesbrough boss of Psyche Steve Cochran admitted job cuts in the northeast had led to a challenging trading environment.

“It’s been a tough start to the year with economic uncertainty and people worried about job cuts. However, I’m an eternal optimist. As Easter falls in March, we’ll claw back and be up by the end of the month.”

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