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Occasionwear and Formalwear Indicator, November 22 2014

What’s selling now in the world of Occasionwear and Formalwear?

Women’s occasionwear

Maggie Robin Owner of Bear Necessities in Auchterarder, Perthshire

“Our top-selling items are John Charles evening dresses (£600 to £800), Ian Stuart party frocks (£850 to £1,000) and Condici dresses (£700 to £850). Condici is popular due to its wide size range from eight to 26. In general, we normally go with the recommended retail price and try to get a mark-up of about 2.7 to 2.75.”

Paula Sharp Manager of Kay Nelson in Liverpool

“Sales are on par with last year. Luckily, we are well established locally and often trade on recommendations. Bestsellers include Ispirato dresses (£270) and Joseph Ribkoff cruisewear, such as palazzo and three quarter-length trousers (£120) and A-line or fitted cocktail dresses
(£250 to £300).”

Pauline Spiers Owner of Catwalk in Falkirk

“September trading was affected in the run-up to the Scottish referendum, due to worries about the future of the economy. Generally,
we attract customers from Edinburgh and the Scottish borders up to 70 miles away, who are looking for something special, such as Joseph Ribkoff lace dresses (£225) or jumpsuits from Vera Mont (£230).”

Bridget Bland Manager of Giselle in York

“Two-piece outfits, such as dresses and jackets or skirts with tops or jackets, especially from Marc Cain (£300 to £440), are very popular. Bernshaw cocktail dresses (£300) are also a bestseller. We have seen a decline in new business, most likely due to a rise in online shopping. Regular customers are, however, spending more money on scarves and coats to complete their outfits.”

Jane Kingsley Owner of Jane Young in Newark, Nottinghamshire

“Sales are similar to last year thanks to our town centre location. We attract customers from Sheffield and Nottingham up to 30 miles away. John Charles (£500 to £600) is one of our top-selling brands, but newly introduced Pia Michi sequined lace dresses (£300 to £400) have also been a hit.”

Judith Stern Owner of Judith of Wanstead, east London

“Regular customers are still coming in, but sales have declined due to a lack of new footfall. Post-recession, people just don’t have the money to spend. Items that are still selling well include Tony Bowls evening dresses (£500 to £900) and Terani Couture dresses (£500 to £800).”

Noreen Crompton Owner of Norma James in Corbridge, Northumberland

“Marc Cain dresses and jackets (£400) or dresses and coats (£700) are our bestselling items, as well as stretch satin cocktail dresses from Ispirato (£400 to £500). Overall, sales are up 2% on last year as we are trying to be competitive.”

Sue Emery Co-owner of Posh Frocks in Oxford

“It’s been a good season, but sales are still down on last year as a result of the good weather, heavy discounting on the high street and severe roadworks around Oxford. Even so, Gina Bacconi and Olvi’s lace cocktail dresses (£195 and £699 respectively) are bestsellers.”

Men’s formalwear

David Pykett Manager of George Brigdens in Derby

“We’ve had great success with slim-fit Boss Black suits (£450) and our in-house suiting brand Brigdens (£275). Spending is up on last year as more men are opting for the tailored look. Having over 100 years’ tailoring experience helps us attract customers from all over the Midlands.”

Paul Bone Owner of Bone Clothing in Lewes, East Sussex

“Business was relatively slow in October because our customers didn’t need to buy wool jackets in the warm weather. Now the cold has arrived customers are buying heavily into Gant’s classic herringbone blazer (£350), as well as tailored wool jackets from Remus Uomo (£199) and Gibson London (£199).”

Tomas Biroscik Owner of Morse Point in Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria

“Classic Boss Black jackets (£400) and tailored wool check blazers (£539) by Boglioli are popular this season. Trade is up 15% on last year across the board. We are improving our website, which accounts for 20% of sales, as well as offering more variety in store and online by introducing new brands for autumn 14, like Matchless and Jacob Cohën.”

Stuart Hall Manager of Casanova Menswear in Carlisle

“Our customers have been spending more because there’s greater confidence in the economy. Strong sellers are suits by 7Square (£300) and Roy Robson (£360). However, we’ve also noticed most customers prefer to hire rather than buy suiting, as tailoring isn’t part of their everyday look.”

Simon Hyslop Owner of Armstrongs of Worcester

“Customers are responding well to Magee classic suits (£325), as well as Without Prejudice suiting (£425). More customers are buying suits instead of hiring, although sales have been disrupted by a road closure nearby, which we estimate is preventing 80% of our customers from accessing the store.”

Malcolm Evans Store manager at Signature Menswear in Aberdeen

“Customers spent cautiously in early October, but performance has picked up. We’re having a good run with the Coxtan overcoat (£420) from Boss Black, as well as shirts by Circle of Gentlemen (£130) and Eton (£120).”

Nigel Broadbent Owner of Peter Charles in Lancaster

“We anticipate strong sales once the roadworks leading to Lancaster are finished in late November. So far, Boss Black suits (£500) and Magee jackets (£250 to £299) are selling strongly. Customers also love Portuguese brand Torre (£215) as it is value for money.”

Rob Evison General manager of Giorgio Reggiani in Derby

“Suiting by Remus Uomo (£250 to £350), Gibson London (£250 to £400) and Sand (from £525) is very much in demand. Trade is up 9% compared with last year.”


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