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Snow piles on misery for indies

Small businesses have been hit hard by the heaviest snowfall in 18 years, according to the British Shops and Stores Association (BSSA).

Some retailers failed to open stores while others closed early as staff were unable to get to work and shoppers stayed away earlier this week.
BSSA chief executive John Dean said the impact on independents was significant.

“Small businesses are already suffering and this weather is just adding to the doom and gloom,” he said. “Most retailers do everything they can to run the business as normal as every sale counts in this economic environment. However, there isn’t the footfall in this weather.”

Womenswear independents told Drapers they would stick with trusted winning brands when buying for autumn 09, ahead of the Pure London exhibition, which kicks off this weekend.

“We are buying more carefully this season and sticking to the brands we know perform for us,” said Hilary Haresign, owner of occasionwear specialist Snooty Frox in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. “We will be looking for something new from Europe and our budgets will be about the same, but we will spend our money more carefully. We are buying less fancy things to keep our price points reasonable.”

Victoria Rex, co-owner of indie Hertford Women’s Society in Hertford, said: “We are keeping about 25% of our budget for in-season buying. We’re also reducing our partywear offer and focusing more on core jersey products.”

Some buyers are looking to augment key brands with newness. Alistair Cameron, owner of Ambers of Amersham in Buckinghamshire, said: “I am looking for new and exciting things. There is no point sitting around doing nothing. I’ll be at Pure, snow permitting.”

Pure London takes place at Olympia in London from February 8 -10.

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