Retailers made the rounds at a number of boutique trade shows in New York last week, finding fresh looks for spring and more vendors ready to make deals.
Project, Capsule and Collective were all held at different venues in town. Menswear show MRket also debuted in New York, adding to its usual Las Vegas appearance.
Overall, retailers said they were encouraged by spring, although many were employing new strategies.
“We’ll be buying differently for spring,” said Liz Fodera, footwear buyer at Bloomingdale’s. “It will be very product important. I’ve walked into lines that blow my mind, so we will buy a lot into those. I’ve walked into other lines that are not as strong, so we will not go as deep there.”
The difficult economy also led vendors to make shifts in pricing, retailers said.
“Sometimes it works better to wait,” said Bruce Julian of Bruce Julian Clothier, in Charlotte, N.C. “I saw one [collection] at the last show [in February] and decided to wait. I bought [the same things] now for much less. The vendors are becoming more retail friendly.”
Kevin Reardon and Mark Ambrogi, co-owners of Franco’s in Richmond, Va., bought 25 percent to 30 percent less for fall. Going into spring, they said they were already buying a bit more, thanks to deals with vendors.
“They are definitely more sensitive to price. In some cases, we are buying things for 25 percent to 60 percent less than what we saw it for before,” said Ambrogi. “I guess they’re cutting back, or they’re going to have fewer profits.”
Brother and sister team Chimmey Lhamo and Mig Mar attended Project and Capsule looking for items for their four stores in Brooklyn, N.Y., which include the women’s boutique Pema and soon-to-open men’s shop ID. They have also taken a closer look at pricing, as consumers have shown more restraint when buying.
“We’ve definitely gone cheaper than we used to sell,” said Mar. “And for [ID], we’re looking for nothing super-high-end in shoes — most will retail in the $200 range. That way we will survive.”