The weather is continuing to have the greatest impact on fashion sales, despite the increased pressure of the economic downturn, Jaeger chairman and head of the British Fashion Council Harold Tillman said this week.
Tillman said “fashion is more affected by the weather than the economy”, but warned that no retailer is immune to the slowdown and that those most vulnerable will be retailers with turnover “south of£20 million”.

He said: “I have seen many downturns across sectors, but here everyone is affected – the big guy and the small guy.”
However, Tillman said good businesses will not implode. “Demand will not disappear. People have got so used to new clothes at both ends [luxury and value].”

However, he did warn that shoppers are now “making do” more with their clothes and trying to make their fashion pieces last longer.
Tillman argued that creativity remains crucial in fashion. “Creativity on the catwalk is more important than ever. Design and newness will always create interest,” he said.

He would not give exact figures on current trading at Jaeger, but said that the retailer was still seeing growth on the same scale as competitor Burberry, which in the six months to September 30 defied the gloom to report like-for-like sales growth of 3.4 per cent.
Tillman admitted he would consider acquiring other retail chains if the downturn produced any interesting opportunities, but stressed that Jaeger remains his focus at present.

Next week, Jaeger will open a 3,000 sq ft store at Westfield London, which will have a revamped shopfit and offer exclusive products such as its Tilly “It bag”.

Jaeger is also about to unveil a home furnishings range that will be wholesaled.

In the year to February 23, EBITDA at Jaeger soared 22 per cent to£6.1 million, with sales rising 16 per cent to£82.2 million. In the next 18 months, it also plans to increase its number of overseas stores to 80, with new markets including the US, South Asia and Eastern Europe.