Retail Guide: Women’s Shopping List

MONKEE’S, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Dee Dee Shaw, Brenda Maready, co-owners
Store count: 20 individually owned stores (avg. 1,800 sq. ft.); est. 1996
Hunting for: “We’re looking for that exclusive with a good price because now we have to bring in inventory closer to the time of selling.”
Strategy shift: “It’s definitely more ‘buy now, wear now.’ If we keep bringing things in every couple of weeks, it excites the customer. We have to get out of that ‘on sale’ attitude and back to business as usual with normal prices.”
View on the economy: “We’re optimistic. We’ve seen more people shopping. They don’t spend like they used to, but at least they’re shopping.” 
Lesson learned from holiday ’09: “It’s very important to keep our inventory low. Sell what you have and only fill in with brands that sell easily.”
Current bestsellers: “Tory Burch, Kate Spade and Sofft. Also, Cole Haan because the prices were right and the style was good.”
Best price point: $250 to $350 for shoes, $350 to $425 for boots
Spring ’10 forecast: “We’re going to be optimistic. We think it’s going to be great.”
Hottest new brands: “Matt Bernson because it’s a little funky. Also the Jack Rogers Navajo sandal.”
Next big thing: “Pura Lopez has been getting a lot of press. Others are Tibi, Pour la Victoire and Diane von Furstenberg.”

WISH, St. Louis
Laura Bryan, owner
Store count: 1 (750 sq. ft.); est. 2006
Hunting for: “We’re always hunting for a well-priced basic flat, and I like to bring it in in a couple of colors. Probably 30 percent of my buy will be in flats, in a variety of prices and styles.”
Strategy shift: “We now search for unique, fashionable items that are at a moderate price. I made that shift in the latter half of 2007.”
View on the economy: “It changes every month. We’re still up and down, but overall 2010 will be flat from 2009 or maybe a bit better. [Customers are] now starting to talk about spending, and to me that is the economy going in the right direction.” 
Lesson learned from holiday ’09: “Even though people are cutting back, they are still buying gifts. So it’s important to have enough of those items.”
Current bestseller: Giuseppe Zanotti
Best price point: “$200 to $300 [shoes] sell the quickest, but we’re still selling the high end. It just might take a little longer.”
Spring ’10 forecast: “Spring will be flat from 2009. I feel fall may be when we start to turn the corner.”
Hottest new brand: Jerome C. Rousseau
Next big thing: “Texture will still carry through and be important.”

SHOES ’N’ MORE, Greenwich, Conn.
Liz Elliott, owner
Store count: 6 (avg. 2,000 sq. ft.); est. 1997
Hunting for: “New, new, new from our existing vendors, especially a lot more casual and dress boots.”
Strategy shift: “Buy fewer basics and buy as close to season as possible. We still have open-to-buy and are ready to pounce on key items.”
View on the economy: “It’s still soft. Our areas have been hit hard. Foot traffic is way down, and consumers are spending a lot less.”
Lesson learned from holiday ’09: “Cut assortments and pray for cold weather.”
Current bestsellers: “Always Ugg, Frye and other boot brands.”
Best price point: Under $150
Spring ’10 forecast: “It will be very dependent on the weather. Hopefully it will get warm earlier than it did last year.”
Hottest new brands: “Trove Tkees flip-flops because all the celebrities are wearing them. Also Jack Rogers and Sam Edelman.”
Next big thing: “Ugg’s new fall line looks super fresh. The depth of newness in the collection will cause a frenzy again.”

 

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