I’m pleased to say that the warm sunny days we had in May lifted our figures. And, after a couple of weeks off, I’m now ready to face what we have left of the summer season, which will hopefully bring more people to town and into the store.

Despite the ongoing difficult retail climate, we are still managing to increase both sales and shopper numbers. Importantly, we are still attracting new customers. Although people have less to spend, they are increasingly looking for value, which is exactly where we excel. I put this down to the variety and quick turnaround of our revolving product mix.

We have been particularly pleased with the quality of stock that has come in recently – menswear looks particularly good again this year and our ladies’ fashion range offers some great brand-name summer skirts and tops.

Footwear continues to perform strongly too, especially the summer sandals, which sold exceptionally well as soon as the first of the warm weather hit.

We’ve got 90 branches now and the buying and merchandising control teams at our Burnley HQ continue to do a brilliant job both in sourcing some great product lines and getting the right stock in the right places.

We’re approaching a very busy time – there are several openings planned throughout the summer and I’m looking forward to playing a role in delivering these. Having worked for the company for so long, I know the business inside out and am often involved in setting up new stores, which is something I really enjoy.

By Malcolm Oyston, The Original Factory Shop, Minehead