Winter, our shortest season, is amidst us finally. Thank goodness. Two quick little frosts and a nasty windy night that shocked even the met service. Luckily, as retailers, we’re able to take it all in our stride. The last three months spent sweltering in opaque tights, leather boots and layers of light merino have not been wasted. We’ve had time to become experts, when guiding our panic stricken, blue-lipped buyers toward useful snug fashion solutions, and can deliver our expertise swiftly to capitalise on the short lived cold patches. Winter is a fickle season at the best of times in clothing retail and a c old winter is a crucial make or break component. We revel in those vicious southerlies, the bleak afternoons when the temperature drops 10 degrees in five minutes. It’s time to get creative: turn the heating up, haul the cashmere coats nearer to the door and ick the leopard print fur in the window. But this winter hasn’t been cold really has it? Just enough chilly days, on and o to tease us. Some of you are still walking around wearing jandals! And to top it o , just when we’re getting in our now the inevitable happens. Like a Mexican Wave, starting o softly, softly, until finally letting loose, into a roaring, screeching crescendo the retail world is bombarded with the sounds and signs of SALE. There seems to be no regard, in the retail world for climatic conditions, and the simple fact that the next three months could possibly be ‘brass balls’ weather conditions makes no difference, we’ll have shops full of gorgeous light-weight summer clothing. So a prolonged warm start to winter is a bit of a win, win situation. You win if you shopped early. You got the size you wanted, the style you wanted and the colour you wanted. You were ¬first to capitalise on this season’s ‘designer stand outs’, garments that romped out the door, that are now just style numbers on a packing sheet and a bunch of empty coat hangers. And you’ve been enjoying wearing your new look for months —even if it’s just been to the freezer department at your local supermarket. For those of you who have watched and waited for the inevitable sale, you’re winners for your patience. You can ¬finally purchase that garment you’ve been eyeing up for the last six weeks and you’ve saved yourself some cash. There is though, more competition, and he who hesitates usually misses out. You win if you can ¬find that ‘must have’ garment in the right size and colour, but don’t be surprised if one of our discerning early buyers hasn’t already purchased it months ago. We, the retailer’s win too because SALE time is a chance to give back. It’s a chance to give our valuable customers a great deal which they value – like the merino and leather Sabatini jacket they’ve drooled over all winter or that last cashmere and merino sweater in the just the right colour and size!! We win because we know our customers, we know what’s left of our stock and we know what will work for them, to compliment their wardrobes; and you get a bargain!! So make the most of the wins this winter to capitalise on our short, ¬fickle season. July is a great time for everyone to splash out on those tempting bargains and remember to get in quickly as the selection will only get smaller from now on. Yes, you’ll need to cover up in the next few frigid months, especially while you peruse the sensational spring garments that will be hitting the stores later in July. —Karen Matich, Polwarth Design