Psyche owner Steve Cochrane says he’s going into 2019 with confidence in the future of his clothing business despite the toughest year he can remember for the retail sector.
Cochrane recently received an MBE from Prince Charles for his services to Middlesbrough and the local economy on the back of Psyche being awarded the 2018 Drapers Award for Menswear Independent of the Year.
He revealed that he’s looking to open a further store in the North-East over the next 12 months when he believes opportunities will come from the challenges of the past year.
After opening his first store, Sliced Tomatoes, in Redcar, 36 years ago, Cochrane has established Psyche as a leading brand across Teesside and throughout the fashion business.
Along with the established Middlesbrough store on Linthorpe Road, there is also Psyche 2 in the Cleveland Centre and a new store in Durham.
Psyche launched an American website last Christmas and an Australian site in September, a New Zealand site hits the internet soon and they’re investigating the logistics of a Chinese version too.
Cochrane said: “It’s a tough time for the high street because of the internet and changing consumer habits – and I think there’ll be a different landscape again over the coming months, as more big brands fail.
“But I believe Middlesbrough is on the cusp of lurching forward. There are loads of good things happening including a snow centre, a student village and five-star office buildings in the centre of the town, all of which will improve local employment prospects.
“The retail sector’s challenges of 2018 have been the toughest I’ve known – tougher even than 2008 – but those challenges create opportunities for businesses like ours that have always evolved and innovated.
“That’s what we’ll continue to do – and we’ll be actively looking to open a new North- East store during 2019.”