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Christmas trading Indicator, January 10 2015

What’s selling now in the world of Christmas trading?

Womenswear

Mary Claire O’Sullivan Manager of Samui in Cork

“Sales rose 15% in December so we are very pleased with this year’s festive season. Fur and leather jackets (£781.82) by Yves Salomon, as well as merino wool hats by UK brand Bobbl (£74.36), were bestsellers. As independent retailers we do not open on Boxing Day, meaning we started our Sale on December 27, with a reduction of 30%. We’ve performed very well, even though department stores in the city were offering a 50% discount.”

Tiffany Ross Buyer at Cavells in Oakham, Rutland

“Christmas trading was similar to last year. Our bestsellers are Marc Cain dresses (£200 to £400), Hauber knitwear (£150 to £250) and DL1961 jeans (£200 to £250). Marc Cain doesn’t sell online, so it is very good to stock in store. We didn’t go on Sale until December 27, as I think it is important for independent retailers to not be bullied into Sales by big shops.”

Yvonne Dillon Owner of Essentials Lingerie in Preston

“Spending was different this year, as not as many gifts were being purchased. I think online shopping is affecting high street sales. Bras from Fantasie (£38), Chantelle (£50) and, in particular, PrimaDonna (£60 to £70) sold well over the festive period.”

Nikki Whilby Manager of Vanilla Fudge Lingerie in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire

“The weekend before Christmas (December 20 to 21) was very busy. Silk nightwear from Marjolaine (£120 to £250) and Lise Charmel (£150 to £250) sold strongly. We don’t open on Boxing Day and our Sales actually began on January 5, offering discounts of up to 50%. As a result our business was most affected by local department stores reducing prices.”

Alice Lee Manager of Catfish in Norwich

“We performed slightly better than last year because we didn’t take as many risks and focused on products that sell really well. In the run-up to Christmas our top sellers were Nike Air Max 1 (£95) trainers and Barbour jackets (£150 to £330). Being involved in the Boxing Day Sales was important. We cut prices by 25% to 40%.”

Tanya Hardy Owner of Orchid in Skegness, Lincolnshire

“There isn’t much of a shopping experience in Skegness, so people go to Sheffield and Lincoln for Christmas gifts. The run-up to Christmas was slow, but after that business took off as people were back in town. Dresses by Joseph Ribkoff (£180 to £200) and Frank Lyman (£120 to £230) sold well, and Just White Design by SE blouses (£89 to £140). We didn’t have a Boxing Day Sale, but cut prices by 50% on January 2.” l With reference to our December 20 Womenswear Indicator, Gwen Culligan’s store in Ennis, County Clare, is named The County Boutique. Culligan has asked us to make it clear that the store did not struggle last year and its 20%-off Sale only lasted one day.

Menswear

Jim Darlaston Co-owner of Philip James Menswear in Hinckley, Leicestershire

“We are about 10% up in gross turnover from last Christmas, despite coats not selling well until the cold snap. Meyer cotton trousers (£90) were popular over the festive period, as were Scott by The Label velvet-collared overcoats (£175) and Digel pea coats (£225).”

Martin Jones Owner of Vaughan Davies in Mold, Flintshire

“The season gets shorter every year. November used to be busy for us, but now early December is when people start gift shopping. Barbour knitwear sold well over Christmas (£70 to £120), as did Gant jeans (£100 to £115) and Bugatti overcoats (£225). However, Barbour, Joules and Gant have opened clearance stores nearby and that has affected our sales considerably.”

Darren Hoggett Co-owner of J&B Menswear in Norwich

“Our customer is not that bothered by Sales and we don’t attract bargain hunters. Fred Perry merino-mix crew-neck jumpers (£80) sold well over the festive period, as did Levi’s 511 jeans (£75 to £80). We find that the bigger the supplier, the worse the support we get as an independent retailer. I am optimistic for 2015, but I do fear that independent shops will be gone completely in as little as five years’ time.”

Andrew Knox Manager of Graham McGrath in Peebles

“We can’t compete with the ridiculous reductions that high street stores offer, but it’s not comparing like for like. Our customers want things that aren’t easily found on the high street. Meyer cotton trousers continued to be a hit with customers (£95), as did Olymp shirts (£49) and Magee coats (£130).”

Richard McLaughlin Owner of Attic in Aberdeen

“Barbour jumpers (£90 to £95), jackets (£300) and Farah Vintage shirts (£55) sold well over the Christmas period. Diesel was popular, in particular jeans, which we typically sell for £100 to £200. As a brand, Diesel supports independent retailers, having recently cut ties with big retailers such as Next in favour of independent shops.”

James Abbott Digital marketing manager at A Hume in Kelso, Roxburghshire

“Customer surveys show that quality is desired, so we don’t need to offer huge discounts. Bestselling items over Christmas included the RM Williams Comfort Craftsmen boot (£294.95), the Dubarry Galway boot (£299) and the Oakham gilet by Schoffel (£124.95).”

Milan Ramanandi Manager of Lizard in Richmond upon Thames

“We only have two Sales a year because otherwise if you are constantly reducing a label like, say, Paul Smith, the brand can lose its exclusivity. Grenson shoes did well for us over the period, the Toby Derby was particularly popular (£195).”

Stuart Smith Owner of Zebra in Chesterfield

“Pal Zileri suits (£900) sold strongly, as did Stone Island jackets (£600) and Hugo Boss knitwear (£120 to £150). It will be hard to replicate our sales in January after a strong December, so I expect a difficult year, which means it’s even more important to know your product.”

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