Retail Guide: Athletic Shopping List

STANDARD, Atlanta
Farshad Arshid, owner
Store count: 2 (avg. 1,000 sq. ft.); est. 2003
Hunting for: “We’re keeping an eye open for military/desert boots.”
Strategy shift: “We’re very aware that we need a wider range of price points. Also, our women’s business has been improving, so we’re allocating more open-to-buy there. And for the first time, we’ll be bringing in non-sneakers.”
View on the economy: “We’re not bringing in too many things that are high priced. We’re mindful of people’s budgets, and we’re targeting certain price points that are very customer-friendly.” 
Lesson learned from holiday ’09: “To not overbuy and to stand our ground and not go too heavy into markdowns too early.”
Current bestsellers: “Clae, Creative Recreation and, of course, Nike. The DC Life collection has done phenomenal — it probably has one of our best sell-throughs.”
Best price point: $80 to $100
Spring ’10 forecast: “It will be good. Holiday ’09 kicked off the comeback. We expect to have gradual gains; we planned about an 8 percent to 10 percent increase for the first quarter.”
Hottest new brands: Gourmet, 
DC Life
Next big thing: “Mark McNairy. He has done some amazing stuff.”

CLASSIC KICKS, New York
Nick Santora, co-owner
Store count: 1 (700 sq. ft.); est. 2003
Hunting for: “With sneakers, we carry the same five or six brands. I’m taking a more active role in working with these companies on collaborations. We need to elevate the lifestyle, so we’re going into the archives and seeing how we can push it in terms of styles and materials.”
Strategy shift: “We’re partnering up with the brands that have supported us from the beginning — on collaborations, on concepts and on really telling stories.”
View on the economy: “People would rather have the money in their pocket than a shoe box in their closet, so it’s coming down to what’s wearable.” 
Lesson learned from holiday ’09: “I’m more concerned now with making money than being cool. Being cool doesn’t pay the bills.”
Current bestseller: “Vans because they have the full spectrum, from $42 canvas classics to upper-end product.”
Best price point: $40 to $100
Spring ’10 forecast: “I’m hoping once it gets warm in April, things will pick up.”
Hottest new brands: “New Balance is not a new brand, but somewhat new within the realm of what we’re doing. We’ve also had good traction with Warrior.”
Next big thing: “People will be getting back to the basics, to where this stuff started, with quality, wearable sneakers.”

SHIEKH SHOES, Ontario, Calif.
Shiekh Ellahi, owner
Store count: 112 (avg. 3,000 sq. ft.); est. 1991
Hunting for: “Marquee product. Styles that are $100, but look like they’re $200. Our customers want to stand out and have the most premium product, but they also want a good value.”
Strategy shift: “We’re looking to relocate, expand some stores and redo other stores to present ourselves in a better light.”
View on the economy: “Most of our stores are in California, Arizona and Nevada, and those states are hurting. But our young women’s business is doing very well because teenage girls are still spending money.” 
Lesson learned from holiday ’09: “You have to work on maintaining good relationships with your suppliers, and you have to buy from your heart.”
Current bestsellers: “The Jordan 11. We had kids who slept in front of the store for days [for the release]. Also, Nike Blazer SC, Creative Recreation, Timberland and Levi’s.”
Best price point: “Right now, it’s $75, but the Jordan 11 was $175 and customers were hungry for it.”
Spring ’10 forecast: “We planned for 10 percent down, but we’re hoping we’ll do better.”
Hottest new brand: Levi’s
Next big thing: “The toning trend.”

 

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