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Mainstream Indicator, January 31 2015

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


Tiffany Moore Partner at Renes Lapelle in Lancaster

“Last week we reduced selected items by 70% just as the weather got colder, which helped sell coats and jackets. We’re doing more marketing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which has boosted business. Gerry Weber denim jackets (around £100), Joseph Ribkoff dresses (around £200) and Marc Cain trousers, jumpers, dresses, coats and skirts (£100 to £350) are selling well.”

Miriam Makinde Owner of Broadway in Crouch End, London

“Sales are up on last year with the reintroduction of brands like Sandwich. We stopped selling it a couple of years ago because it wasn’t doing well, but customers started asking for it so we brought it back for autumn 14. Its dresses (£80) have been very popular. Other top-selling items are tunics by Sahara (£89) and Noa Noa (£89).”

Alan Cousins Owner of Cousins of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

“The slightly warmer weather has definitely made it more difficult to sell coats. However, Joseph Ribkoff dresses (£220), Michèle trousers (£120) and Esthème knitwear (£140) are in high demand. We like to think outside the box when adding new brands. Our latest introduction was Portuguese coat brand Christina Félix (£100) two years ago.”

Jane Forsdike Owner of Bijou Boutique in Ipswich

“Every season I introduce a new brand. For spring 15 I’ve brought in Sandwich (£55 to £69) and Marble knitwear (£49 to £55). Having a transactional website has made a very big difference to our sales and we’re up on trade over the past year as a result. Bianca T-shirts (£39 to £49), Olsen knitwear (£69 to £89) and Taifun tops (£45 to £69) are our bestsellers.”

Mandy Bennett Owner of Something Different in Stone, Staffordshire

“We began a 25% discount at the beginning of December and now we’re offering 70% off selected items until all the stock is gone. At full price, Gerry Weber tops (£40), Lebek tops (£35) and Olsen jumpers (£79.99) have been popular. For spring 15 we introduced Frank Walder (£50 to £85).”

Val Unwin Owner of Decisions in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester

“January has been a good month, as new stock is selling wonderfully. Strong items at the moment are Olsen T-shirts (£35), launched for spring 15, as well as tunics from our more established brands such as The Masai Clothing Company (£79 to 90) and Adini (£50).”

Jane StanleY Owner of Private Collection in Barnstaple, Devon

“Our consistently good sellers are Pinko knitwear (£99) and InWear skirts (£79). Marella dresses (£129) have also sold well this week. Mark-up is an important factor for us. I don’t choose anything I can’t buy with a 2.7 mark-up.”

Michelle Pratt Partner at Ragdoll in Pudsey, Leeds

“Trading has been going well, with dresses from Joseph Ribkoff and Kapalua (both £200) in demand, along with Saint James tops (£99). We don’t really need to try new brands as the established labels, like Faber and Elisa Cavaletti, sell strongly. Our last new launch was Kapalua two seasons ago.”


Jim Darlaston Owner of Philip James Menswear in Hinckley, Leicestershire

“The market is on the way up and the economy has improved. Hinckley is a business improvement district, so over the past seven years 400 companies have got together to promote local business, which has really improved footfall. Meyer brushed cotton trousers (£89), Digel jackets (£199) and Seidensticker shirts (£49 to
£65) are selling strongly.”

Peter Doherty Co-owner of Leo Doherty in Castlebar, County Mayo

“Tommy Hilfiger denim (100 to 120/£75 to £90), Lacoste shirts (100/£75) and Remus Uomo suits (300/£225) are selling very well. Although trading is quiet, we’re happy as this is a time of growth in Ireland. The country has been in decline over the past seven years, but now that’s stabilised. Since VAT here is 23%, you need a high mark-up - we look for three-times.”

Sarah Alexander Managing director of Ahernes of Hellifield in Skipton, North Yorkshire

“Bestsellers this week are Barbour coats (£154 to £220), Eterna shirts (£42 to £54) and Atelier Gardeur wool trousers (£129.95). We’re the only independent retailer in a little village, so we are a bit of a destination store. The snow definitely hit footfall.”

Judith Blatch Owner of Winch & Blatch in Sudbury, Suffolk

“We’ve invested in opening an in-store cafe, which has increased footfall. This puts our sales 6% up from last year. Suits, casualwear, coats and knitwear by Brook Taverner (£25 to £250) are in demand, as are Camel Active trousers (£80) and Esprit T-shirts, jumpers and polo shirts (£8 to £45).”

Martin Jones Owner of Vaughan Davies in Mold, Flintshire

“This week we’re down. Snow and gales have affected footfall, as has work being carried out on the water mains in the central shopping street here. This being said, we’ve found Barbour to be in demand for jackets (£119 to £369), knitwear (£69.95 to £129) and shirts (£59 to £69.95). Magee suits (£295 to £395) and Mens trousers (£95 to £125) are also proving to be popular.”

Lorna Crawford Owner of Crawfords Menswear in Belfast

“January has always been quiet as people are back to work and customers are waiting to buy summer clothes instead of more winter clothes. This week bestsellers are Gabicci shirts and jumpers (£35 to £75), Magee waistcoats and jackets (£69 to £150) and Seidensticker shirts (£49 to £55).”

Dave Bulgin Owner of Astaires in Taunton, Somerset

“One of our local rivals, menswear independent Canns, is closing down in three weeks so its dramatic reductions have slowed down our business. This week our biggest sellers are casual jackets by Magee (£150 in Sale) and Brook Taverner (£120 in Sale), and Eterna shirts (£30 in Sale). Our Sale began on December 27 and will run until February.”


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