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Mood lifts in menswear but budgets remain flat

Menswear indies are entering the autumn 10 buying season in an upbeat mood after strong Christmas sales boosted confidence for the coming year.

Although the majority of menswear indies told Drapers they would keep budgets fairly static next season, strong autumn 09 sales of outerwear, boots and chunky knitwear have prompted many to invest more heavily in those categories for autumn 10.

Michael Whatmough, director of Stockport menswear indie Paul Howard, said: “Knitwear was particularly strong in autumn 09 and I’ll be looking for more colour there for autumn 10.”

Heritage brands such as Barbour and Fred Perry are expected to have healthy order books as indies cater for ongoing demand for established labels with a strong outerwear offer.

Peter Lewis, owner of mainstream menswear indie Bryn Lewis in Swansea, said: “We’ll be looking to invest more in casualwear, particularly the blouson-type jackets and cotton trousers. We’ll cut back on formal shirts and tailoring as casualwear is definitely stronger now.”

Many indies told Drapers they would also be looking to up the percentage of niche brands or own-label product they stocked in a bid to improve margins.

Menswear indies said they would not slash budgets in the same way many did for autumn 09, but most will again buy cautiously, opting to spread risk with more short order collections where available.

John Wallis, manager of mainstream menswear indie Ardec in Beckenham, Kent, which stocks brands such as Gurteen and Brook Taverner, said: “We’ll be looking for more stock service for autumn 10. We had a good Christmas, so I’m feeling confident about 2010 but we definitely won’t be increasing budgets yet.”

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