Retail Guide: Children’s Shopping List

KIXX
Charlotte, N.C.
Store count: 1 (1,000 sq. ft.); est. 2008
Jennifer Kennedy, co-owner

HUNTING FOR: “Great-fitting, functional shoes. We sell a lot of casual and sport sandals. We’re also looking for some trendy styles, like fun thongs that kids can run and play in.”
BUYING STRATEGY: “We’ll be buying more because we’re still growing at a steady pace.”
SHOES YOU CAN’T KEEP IN STOCK: “Sun-San Salt-Water’s Sweetheart sandal is our No. 1 [seller]. Also, Pediped’s sport sandals in the Nile for girls and Amazon for boys. All are water-friendly, which is a key selling point.”
BEST PRICE POINT: $39 to $49
HOTTEST NEW BRANDS: “Livie & Luca is still doing very well for us. Umi has definitely seen an upswing in sales because of its new designs that look really good.”
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE BETTING ON: “Metallics are still huge. We’ll continue to buy tons of silver, pewter and gold. And I’m assuming the strong thong trend will continue into next year.”
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE PASSING ON: “Anything plastic. One thing we’ve never carried is jellies, and we won’t next year either.”
MOOD AT RETAIL: “We’re planning on being busier than ever.”
WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO GET PEOPLE TO BUY: “Every August we have our ‘5-7-9’ back-to-school promotion where we give families $5 off the first pair, $7 off the second, $9 off the third and so on. It has created great customer loyalty.”

WEE SOLES
Los Angeles
Store count: 1 (680 sq. ft.); est. 1996
Tamsin Carlson, co-owner

HUNTING FOR: “I try [to] have two special sandals — one for boys and one for girls — in each age group, and then I cover my basics. There’s a throwback to the retro, old-school look, so I’m also looking for retro colors.”
BUYING STRATEGY: “Probably the same as this past spring, or a little less. I’m definitely not going to be taking any risks.”
SHOES YOU CAN’T KEEP IN STOCK: “Red Geox sneakers for boys and for girls, Cienta’s summer shoes and Hoy’s Sun-San Salt-Water sandals. It doesn’t seem to matter which color.”
BEST PRICE POINT: $30 to $50
HOTTEST NEW BRANDS: Garvalin, Cienta
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE BETTING ON: “Colorful sneakers for boys and gladiators for girls that have a little bit of an edge but are still sweet. I like shoes that are high fashion but not too adult.”
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE PASSING ON: “The pirate, skull and crossbones motif is done for me. I am also really over glitter Mary Janes.”
MOOD AT RETAIL: “People are still buying only as they need it. It’s different for adults, but for children, there doesn’t seem to be any impulse buying right now.”
WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO GET PEOPLE TO BUY: “What does help drive traffic is when I donate gift certificates to schools for silent auctions. They always buy beyond the gift certificate, and it helps spread the word about our store.”

IBIZA KIDZ
New York
Store count: 1 (2,500 sq. ft.); est. 1989
Carole Husiak, owner

BUYING STRATEGY: “I probably [will buy] more because I was very careful this past spring and sold through many styles, so I’m planning to be more proactive.”
BEST PRICE POINT: $34 to $55
HOTTEST NEW BRANDS: Camper
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE BETTING ON: “Colorful, stylish product, but with a sport sole.”
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE PASSING ON: “Anything that is overly dressy, too ornate and more expensive. Customers are really shying away from these. We had done better with those in the past, but not now.”
MOOD AT RETAIL: “People are starting to feel slightly more relaxed and comfortable with spending, even though the bottom line is that they’re still hunting for really good deals.”
WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO GET PEOPLE TO BUY: “We do special coupons and run more daily specials and sales, and we run storewide sales a bit more frequently than before to drive in business.”

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