The current market
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), clothing and footware sales have been ‘largely flat’ recently. Kevin Hawkins, director general of the BRC said clothing sales were ‘sluggish’ and retail growth was ‘heavily slanted towards the grocery sector’.
Weather and interest rates can hit clothing sales hard. Winter 2006 was relatively mild, meaning people had little need to go out and buy a new winter wardrobe. Increased in the rate of interest also reduces consumer confidence as it makes the cost of borrowing more expensive. New clothes are not always a neccessity so sales can be hit hard.
Michael Goodmaker is an adviser to the clothing retail sector and, as a member of the Institute of Business Advisers, works with many small clothing stores in East London. "Independent clothing shops are in the largest decline that we've seen in the last 10-15 years. The lion's share of clothing sales doesn't come from clothing shops anymore, it comes from supermarkets. And on the high streets, the chains are doing a better job than the independents."
Like any business decision, you will have to assess the risks and use your judgement to choose the right time to start.