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Psyche starts Sale early to boost coffers

Psyche, the premium indie department store in Middlesbrough, has gone on Sale early because of slow spring trade.

Psyche launched a four-day, mid-season clearance on Wednesday, about four weeks earlier than normal. It has been timed to hit before the crucial Easter trading period, with discounts of up to 50%.

Stock marked down includes current season collections and both autumn 10 and spring 10 product, which Psyche did not clear in earlier discounting. Womenswear, menswear and kidswear all feature.

The early discounting follows weeks of poor spring trading. Last week an exclusive consumer sentiment survey for Drapers showed almost 70% of shoppers had no plans to spend on spring

clothing over the bank holiday period, while the British Retail Consortium said fashion sales in March had fallen at their sharpest rate since August 2009.

Psyche owner Steve Cochrane said he had held mid-season Sales for the past eight years but they were normally timed to take place in May and November. He said trade had been so tough that he decided to bring the clearance event forward to free up some cash tied up in old stock.

Cochrane said: “January and February were not so good. It was the quietest February in living memory and [other retailers] have all been saying the same. March was better but still not good. Last week was better though.”

Cochrane said Sale stock was mostly from autumn 10 and spring 10. He added: “There might be the odd thing [from spring 11] that hasn’t sold through but we only do that as a very last resort.” He added that spring 11 stock was discounted by less, with markdowns of 25%.

Psyche stocks brands such as Lipsy, Levi’s Red Tab, Pretty Green, Cheap Monday and Armani Jeans.

Readers' comments (2)

  • New VAT rates, new NI rates, new tax bands: is it any wonder people are holding back? I was speaking to the CEO of a major non-clothing retailer who is also experiencing tough trade. It's right across the board.

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  • Each business to their own, but I don't think Psyche going on sale early will make little if any difference for them and it sets a dangerous precedent for them. If consumers haven't got the money, they can't spend it - sale or no sale. Many premium indies are in a situation at the moment that they have become too expensive for their customers, yet also losing margin due to higher wholesale and running costs. Something has to give, but discounting has never ever been the answer.

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