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Kate Walton

Owner of premium womenswear indie Havetolove in Gosforth, Newcastle

Brands By Malene Birger, MiH Jeans, Sass & Bide, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel

How is trade at the moment?

Really good, both online and in the store. This season is proving to be very successful and we’ve had to buy in-season to replenish stock.

Which brands and categories are selling best?

We are selling a lot of knitwear, chunky cardigans and jumper dresses and there is still a high demand for skinny jeans. Accessories and footwear are also very popular for presents.

We’ve noticed that Christmas partywear shopping started earlier this year. Customers are organised and are planning their festive wardrobes already.

What is the biggest challenge you face in 2011?

The VAT increase is obvious but we are only raising prices another 2.5%. We have to get this point across to customers.

Are you introducing new brands for spring 11?

Yes, but we won’t say which. We’ve had problems from local indies that try in effect to copy our brand mix. Newcastle is a small place and it is important to remain exclusive.

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