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Womenswear is off to a flyer for autumn

An unprecedented demand for early autumn womenswear has been reported by retailers across the UK.

Mainstream womenswear indies, still in the throes of summer Sales, have reported a consumer rush on autumn 11 product. Some have already sold out of select pieces.

Pauline Tyrer, manager and buyer at Fall Woman in Knutsford, Cheshire, said: “We’ve not had much success with early autumn stock before, but suddenly this summer it’s working. I’ve sold all but one in a range of MaxMara fur coats that sell at £990. People are bored of summer Sales and eager for new stock.”

Sarah Alexander, co-owner of Ahernes of Hellifield in Skipton, North Yorkshire, said: “Customers are drawn in by the Sale, but leave carrying bags of our full-priced autumn line.”

Tiffany Ross, buyer at Cavells in Oakham, Rutland, said: “I’ve never had autumn stock out this early and it’s selling really well. If you wait until September then it’s such a short window before people have Christmas on their minds. To extend it by going into Sale early is easier with a loyal customer base.”

There has also been a similar spike in demand for new stock at designer indie mini-chain Matches. PR director Jess Christie said: “In terms of growth for pre-season we are experiencing a phenomenal start. Like-for-like sales were up 70% last week. Due to awareness in the media, more clients are wiser to pre-collections. Also our customers have learned that if they don’t buy it now it won’t be available in November.”

Pre-collection, she added, accounted for 65% of Matches’ total autumn season sales.

Department store group Selfridges and London designer indie Browns have also experienced high autumn sales. Selfridges reported a strong sell-through on new lines and Browns said last week’s sales of pre-collection product rose 3% on last year.

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