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Steve Slack

Owner of contemporary and young fashion indie Petrus Design, which has stores in South Walden in Essex and Cambridge

How is trade?
We’re very pleased with trade and optimistic for the future. Christmas was good for us. Sales were a bit slow at the beginning of December but picked up in mid-December. It is our second Christmas in our Saffron Walden menswear store and we were up about 25 % on 2008.

How has the snow affected you?
In the Cambridge store, footfall dropped quite a bit but in Saffron Walden we saw an increase in sales. That may be because the snow stopped people travelling to bigger cities and encouraged them to shop locally.

How has your Sale gone?
We didn’t start the Sale until January 4. We decided to go in with a 50% reduction rather than do it in steps because stock levels were low.

Do you have any plans for online expansion?
We will launch a transactional website later this year for both menswear and womenswear. We’ll also sell lifestyle products such as bean bags to attract different customers. The site will be an extension of the service we offer in store and will allow us to reach a broader market geographically. We are planning to do deliveries across Europe.

How do you differentiate yourself from the rest of the high street?
We focus on building up customer relationship and quality and delivery of service. We offer customers the possibility to come on Sundays and out of hours. There is not a huge demand for the service because most people try to fit their shopping in regular hours anyway but when people use it they generally buy.

Which styles are selling best in menswear?
Shirts, knitwear, outerwear and generally all cold-weather clothing is doing well. In terms of brands Danish labels Matinique and Sand are doing well in tailoring. For casualwear, Original Penguin and Firetrap are best sellers.

Brands include Original Penguin, Firetrap, Baracutta, Gabicci Vintage, Sand, Matinique, Gibson London, French Connection, Edwin jeans, Levis

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