Boutique magazine’s October 2021 issue is out now

Fuel shortages, supply chain issues and red tape caused by Brexit are all having a damaging effect on retail.

But as we approach Christmas, there’s still an air of optimism about the trading period ahead. According to research, shoppers have an estimated £200 billion in accumulated lockdown savings – and they want to spend it this Christmas. With the nation missing parties and gatherings last year, there’s pent-up demand for sparkly dresses and party heels. And this, of course, is great news for fashion indies.

If you haven’t finalised your preparations for the festive period, you’re in the right place. From making the most of this year’s Small Business Saturday to revising your online delivery strategy, we’ve got some great ideas on how to make this Christmas a success on page 43. Meanwhile, we also speak to three leading womenswear indies in our Shop Talk section (page 49) to find out how they’re tackling this year’s party season.

Of course, planning a successful Christmas period starts with stocking products your customers want to buy. Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre is urging retailers to finalise their stock early and start marketing now: “It’s likely that Christmas shopping may start earlier than usual, especially if difficulties in the supply chain continues.” (Read more on page 10-12). So, if you haven’t already earmarked all of your short-order budget, we’ve got some great partywear ideas over on page 23. We’ve also hunted down some covetable gift ideas for all ages and budgets starting on page 32.

Finally, the wait is almost over for the results of the government’s Fundamental Review into business rates. It is hoped that this month’s Autumn Statement will bring good news for the industry after the British Retail Consortium found that many businesses will collapse if rates aren’t reduced soon (page 10-12). Bira is urging indies to write to their MPs this month to express their concerns and has created a template letter that can be downloaded from its website.

Let’s hope retail gets the break it needs this Christmas.

The October 2021 issue of Boutique magazine is out now; read the digital edition here