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Occasionwear & Formalwear Indicator, December 20 2014

What’s selling now in the world of Occasionwear & formalwear?


Michelle Pratt Manager of Ragdoll of Pudsey, Leeds

“My bestsellers are dresses from Ian Stewart (£1,000), John Charles (£600) and Condici (£650 to £900), all of which are specialists in mother-of-the-bride clothing. We are introducing new Spanish brands for spring 15, but we can’t confirm the names yet as we’re still making our decision.”

Jenny Grogan Owner of Solitaire in Darwen, Lancashire

“The key occasionwear brand we stock is Frank Lyman, which focuses on dresses (£150) and formal tops (£125). The autumn 14 season is going fairly steadily and sales are on a par with last year.”

Sue Emery Manager of Posh Frocks in Oxford

“The store is benefitting from it being party season and mother-of-the-bride wear is also selling strongly. Bestsellers are Condici dresses (£650), and John Charles suits (£800) and dresses (£600). We also sell Olvi’s bespoke dresses (£699). Thankfully, roadworks in the local area aren’t affecting business.”

Kath Ridgway Manager of Amelia’s in Clitheroe, Lancashire

“Dresses from John Charles (£800) and Condici (£699) are popular. Trading is fairly normal and we are getting ready to restock in January with new styles from our existing brands. We may introduce a 10% promotion in the new year, depending on how business is doing.”

Suzanne Phillips Manager of Casa de Modas in Carlisle

“Our top-selling pieces are long evening dresses by Mascara (£125) and Frank Lyman (£125) and little black dresses by Danielle (£90).
We just celebrated the store’s fifth birthday with several offers, which has helped boost sales. We do, however, expect to become busier when our main Sale starts after Christmas.”

Fiona Hamilton Manager of All the Rage in Bothwell, Lanarkshire

“This year sales started slowly because of the hot weather, but they have picked up well in the past few months. We have, however, been affected by shop closures in the local area, which has affected footfall. That being said, smart suits from Carla Ruiz (£299) and Zelia (£399) are in demand.”

Gwen Culligan Manager of The Country Boutique in Ennis, County Clare

“We recently put most of our party and occasion wear into Sale at 20% off for one day only. Our main occasionwear brand is Aideen Bodkin, which sells dresses (£300 to £400), coats (£450) and jackets (£350).”

  • We would like to highlight an error. Gwen Culligan’s store in Ennis is actually named The County Boutique. Culligan has also requested that we make it clear that the retailer did not struggle last year as indicated and its 20% Sale only lasted one day.

Denise Coyle Manager of Barbara’s of Standish, Lancashire

“Business is doing fairly well; however, our footfall has dropped due to the main car park in the village being closed. The brands we continue to sell despite the drop in footfall are dresses from Veni Infantino (£405), Dress Code (£400 to £600) and Ann Balon (£400 to £600).”


Neil Welker Owner of Elliotts of Lymington, Hampshire

“Suits from Without Prejudice (£450 to £500) and Circle of Gentlemen (£450 to £500), as well as Carl Gross sports jackets (£300), are our biggest sellers right now. We’ve seen more interest in slim-fit suits this autumn 14. Trading is up on last year due to increased consumer confidence and a lack of heavy discounting on the high street around us.”

Oliver Tookman Owner of Robert Goddard in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire

“Sports jackets from Ted Baker (£300), Scott & Taylor (£60) and Digel (£200) are our bestsellers. We’re performing above expectations because even though we didn’t join in with the Black Friday Sales we have benefitted from the general shopping frenzy and the recent
cold spell.”

Craig Cummins Manager of Man to Man in Southport, Merseyside

“Formal shirts from Hugo Boss (£89 to £130), Eton (£115 to £139) and Joseph Turner (£50 to £59) are popular. Trading is down on last week as more customers are opting to do their Christmas shopping in the big city centres like Liverpool (20 miles away) and Manchester (40 miles away).”

Derek McCormack Manager of Majors in Owestry, Shropshire

“Suit jackets from Ted Baker (£200), Without Prejudice (£300) and Magee (£300) are selling best. Coat sales haven’t taken off because of the warm winter, but sales of suits, shirts, and trousers have put us 15% up on last year. We suffer from being in a small town and discounting on the internet makes trading harder as we don’t have a transactional website.”

Rob Evison Manager of Giorgio Reggiani in Derby

“Formal jackets from Gibson London (£225), shirts by Remus Uomo (£55 to £60) and suits by Karl Lagerfeld (£500) are doing well. We are up on last year’s sales figures by 10% because our area in the old part of town has recently attracted some interesting independent shops, increasing the flow of people onto our street.”

Phil Buckley Manager of Denis Hope in Rochdale

“Formal shirts from Hugo Boss (£90) are in demand, as are suits from Circle of Gentlemen (£230) and Roy Robson (£230). Trading is up 52% on last year because the roadworks, which were right outside our shop for three years, have finally gone.”

John Footitt Manager of Lester Bowden in Epsom, Surrey

“State of Art formal shirts (£75 to £89), William Lockie luxury knitwear (£89 to £95) and Daks sports jackets (£575) are in demand. The colder weather has encouraged people to buy winter clothes, and people are also cracking on with their Christmas shopping.”

Paul Bone Owner of Bone & Carter in Lewes, East Sussex

“November was great for us because we chose a good shirt selection, which has driven a 14% increase in sales. Kent & Curwen shirts (£85), Hackett knitwear (£100) and Eden Park trousers (£90) are top sellers.”

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