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Sarah Coggles increases spend on emerging labels

Premium indie Sarah Coggles will increase its buying budget for emerging labels by 45% for autumn 10 after sales of emerging designer labels outperformed established brands in the retailer’s York store and online.

Fledgling designer labels, which have between two and 12 wholesale accounts, now command 12% of Sarah Coggles’ buying budget and pull in the same proportion of its annual turnover, which stands at almost £6m across the store and the website. Sarah Coggles director Mark Bage said the budget allocation would increase to about 18% for autumn 10.

Bage said: “We’ve always stocked new designers since we launched 35 years ago but we are more committed now; firstly because they are becoming so much more professional and secondly because they sell. Some of our young designers are outselling established names such as Vivienne Westwood.”

Bage said the recent upturn in sales from new designers was due in part to a consumer desire for traditional manufacturing and workmanship during recession.

He added: “Crafts such as leather and crochet have really come to the fore. There’s a big ethos of workmanship during recession and that’s a great place for young designers to start.”

He added that shoppers were looking for a point of difference through a new brand but with the backing of a trusted retailer.

Bage will scout for up-and-coming designers through networking events and at smaller trade shows including Margin London, which is held at The Music Rooms in South Molton Lane on February 14-15, and Capsule in New York and Paris. Bage added: “I’m not a fan of the big shows such as Bread & Butter. We’re looking for collections that are not too polished. We want to help designers improve their collections and grow their businesses.”

However, Sarah Coggles will not cut back its spending on established brands. Bage said turnover for December was up 18% on last year, even though 2008 had proven to be a strong Christmas for the indie.

Sarah Coggles sells established brands such as Diesel, Religion and D&G alongside newer labels including T-shirt brand Long Clothing on its website. However, about 50% of the emerging brands are sold in store only.

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