With their customers spending far more time at home due to the Covid-19 restrictions, clothes shops in Omagh are seeing an increase in the popularity of “casual and comfortable” outfits ahead of staying in over Christmas.
Both Lynn McKinley, of She Boutique, and Robbie Watson, of Classic Urbanwear, say that people have been shopping earlier this year – perhaps due to fear of another lockdown – and the emphasis is very much on comfort in the absence of the traditional office parties. But Lynn added, “I think we all deserve a treat after such an unsettling year and no better way than to get something nice to wear at Christmas. Although casual lifestyle pieces are key this season for comfort, I have no doubt that we will all make the most of Christmas.”
Reflecting on the many ways in which her shop has adapted to the ‘new normal’, Lynn said they had taken new steps to be as flexible as possible by offering a click and collect service, local home deliveries, virtual shopping online and also a private appointment opportunity in the evening. She said that her online shop was busier and there was more of an emphasis on social media. “We definitely find our days fly in as we try and navigate through this pandemic learning new skills especially doing live videos. Talking into the camera is quite the challenge,” Lynn added.
Meanwhile, Robbie said that, in the midst of the pandemic, Classic Urbanwear was placing a similar emphasis on online platforms like Facebook and Instagram to attract as many customers as they could, as well as encouraging people to shop local for Christmas. While his shop doesn’t sell stock online, Robbie said they had been doing a lot of deliveries themselves straight to the customer’s door since the start of the lockdown earlier this year.
Outlining the advantages of shopping local, Robbie said that if there was an issue with a piece of clothing then the customer could pick up the phone and speak directly to him, rather than wait for somebody online to replace it. Both prominent retailers thanked their customers for supporting them during these unprecedented times. Lynn added, “We have some amazing businesses in Omagh town and we hope customers will support us all, rather than the major online retailers and marketplaces.”