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Mainstream Indicator, December 6 2014


Jane Forsdike Owner of Bijou in Ipswich

“Taifun tops (£49) and dresses (£85 to £99) in grey and pink are selling well, along with Bianca dresses (£120) and T-shirts (£55 to £59). We introduce new brands every season, such as Yest for autumn 14. Trading is up on last season because people are more confident in the economy. Also, as we’re focused on the 50-plus market, there’s not a lot of competition.”

Pauline Jones Owner of Prelude in Westerham, Kent

“The mainstream market is performing remarkably well. Customers are looking for quality clothing that suits all women from 30 years upwards. Joseph Ribkoff tops (£150) and dresses by Frank Lyman (£150 to £180) are always popular.”

Maggie Webb Owner of Cordelia in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

“Dresses from Joseph Ribkoff (£250) and Crea Concept (£150) are in demand, although trading in general is quiet, as the big high street stores are now on Sale.”

Sarah Gilchrist Owner of C’est Si Bon in Edinburgh

“Frank Lyman (£180) and Joseph Ribkoff dresses (£190), as well as print tops by Pause Café (£90 to £140) are in demand. We’re having a pre-Christmas fizz and nibbles night at the beginning of December, where we’ll be offering a 10% discount across the board
to our customers. We have such nights three to four times a year and they’ve proven to be a huge success.”

Ruth Burdon-Bailey Owner of Bailey’s in Southport, Merseyside

“JayLey Collection fur gilets (£170) and furry ponchos (£58) sell extremely well. Robell stretch trousers (£49) and dresses by Spanish brand Viccio Barcelona (£100) are also popular. Chamonix faux-fur coats (£200) have been selling regardless of the warm weather, as our customers love the luxury feel.”

IrenÉ Whittle Owner of Irené of Broadstone, Dorset

“Autumn 14 has been a good season for dresses from Joesph Ribkoff (£200), while Frank Lyman longer-length sleeved dresses (£249) are a hit. Customers looking for something quirky love White Stuff, which we introduced for autumn 14. They are shopping the collection on impulse, particularly quality cotton-rich jumpers (£50). Although the weather has been a bit miserable, the large car park opposite means
we always attract shoppers.”

Deborah McDermott Owner of Velvet Exclusive Ladieswear in Ramsbottom, Lancashire

“The build-up to Christmas has begun. Customers are looking for partywear with a subtle sparkle in shades of black, red and royal blue, such as evening dresses by Frank Lyman (£150 to £200). Dresses (£90 to £100) and tops (£64.95) from InWear are selling strongly, as are jackets by Lebek (£120). We love the fact that Ramsbottom is a town full of independents and no really big retailers, which attracts customers looking for something different.”


Robert Wilson Owner of Wilson’s Menswear in Monaghan, Ireland

“Strong sellers are Remus Uomo suits (£205), striped and checked shirts by Casamoda (£48) and Superdry polo shirts (£43.50). Trading is great at the moment, partly because, as an established business with 60 years’ experience, we have a loyal clientele and also because we offered a 20% discount across the board last month to celebrate our anniversary.”

Mark Clifton Owner of Clive Continental Menswear in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

“Our bestselling items are checked shirts from Hatico (£45) and Remus Uomo formal trousers in dark colours (£69). The mild weather hasn’t helped sales of classic quilted jackets by Douglas (£185) and Vedoneire (from £79). However, customers are buying jackets and overcoats from Scott by The Label (£179) regardless of the weather, because of the trend-led designs.”

Richard Pepper Owner of Stretton Menswear in Church Stretton, Shropshire

“Coats haven’t been selling that well due to the warm weather. Now that the temperature is finally dropping, though, we are selling more outerwear, such as Jupiter winter coats (£225). Our customers also love Meyer wool corduroy trousers (£89 to £110) and casual shirts from Viyella (£55 to £60).”

Hazel Barnard Menswear buyer at Winch & Blatch in Sudbury, Suffolk

“With the colder weather here and Christmas in sight, sales of knitwear, for example from Joules (£65), have been brilliant. Other strong sellers are Wrangler jeans (£59.99) and Joules boxer shorts (£14.99).”

David Mendoza Owner of Chequers in St Albans, Hertfordshire

“In the 18 months since we opened we’ve built a loyal customer base. Business is going so well that we are converting our basement into an additional shop floor for new brands like Gant and Bugatti for spring 15. Casual Jiggler Lord Berlue shirts (£59.95 to £79.95) and Roy Robson trousers (£100) are selling well.”

Lorna Crawford Co-owner of Cochrane’s Menswear in Belfast

“Formal Seidensticker shirts (£49 to £55) and tweed Magee jackets (£289) sell very well. Heavy rain has affected footfall, but with the festive season approaching business is recovering.”

David Hopper Manager of Golding of Newmarket in Suffolk

“Shirts from Gant (£80 to £85) and Tommy Hilfiger (£75 to £80) are selling well. Customers are also buying earthy-coloured straight-leg twill jeans from RM Williams (£99). Colder weather means more positive outerwear sales. We had a good run with jackets from Barbour (£130 to £150) and Schöffel (£125 to £300).”

Karen Herriot Menswear manager at Hourstons in Ayr

“This weekend, we are offering up to 30% discounts across the store. This has been a success in the past and definitely increases footfall. Customers love Gabicci crew- and V-neck jumpers (£70), as well as Brook Taverner cotton shirts (£53) and corduroy trousers (£99).”

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