Retail Guide: Men’s Shopping List

ZAPPOS.COM
Henderson, Nev.
Store count: 1 (online); est. 1999
Jeanne Markel, director of casual lifestyle

HUNTING FOR: “Unique twists and updated material interests on classic styles. Men’s styles are getting more adventurous with colors. Vintage/Americana styling is still a growing men’s category.”
BUYING STRATEGY: “We’re buying significantly more than spring ’11. We had an extremely strong first quarter.”
SHOES YOU CAN’T KEEP IN STOCK: “Timberland’s Kia Wah Bay Two-Eye boat shoe, Rockport’s Bennett Lane Cape Noble Venetian moc, Cloude by Hugo Boss, Deauville by Calvin Klein, Bed Stu’s Uncle Fred boat shoe and Steve Madden’s Novo loafer.”
BEST PRICE POINT: $79 to $195
HOTTEST NEW BRANDS: “Bed Stu. Rockport and Timberland continue to have more to offer a younger demographic, and Ugg Australia has a renewed focus on their men’s line starting this fall.”
MOOD AT RETAIL: “We’re very positive and very confident going into fall.”
WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO GET PEOPLE TO BUY: “We’ll continue to market our brands through print and digital marketing, using blogs and Facebook. Our single biggest marketing success, though, is word-of-mouth.”

THE BROOKLYN CIRCUS
Brooklyn, N.Y.; San Francisco; Thebkcircus.com
Store count: 2 (average 700 sq. ft.); est. 2006
Gabe Garcia, co-owner & art director

HUNTING FOR: “We’re going to continue with the brogue boots, cap-toe shoes and classic canvas sneakers. We’re definitely more interested in comfortable dress yet casual shoes.”
BUYING STRATEGY: “We’ll be increasing our buying by at least 10 percent, maybe 15 percent.”
SHOES YOU CAN’T KEEP IN STOCK: “Wolverine’s Addison boots, which is a workboot with a dress twist, following the trend of boots being worn in the spring and summer, and Sebago is doing very well for us.”
BEST PRICE POINT: $200 to $280
HOTTEST NEW BRANDS: “Sebago and Vane Project, which we’ll be carrying next spring, Common Projects, Wolverine and our special-edition Trickers project.”
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE BETTING ON: “If customers aren’t going with a classic, canvas sneaker, they’re going with a dress boot. The in-between is going to get overshadowed by either the classic canvas sneaker, or wingtip or dress boot.”
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE PASSING ON: “Boat shoes have done their time.”
MOOD AT RETAIL: “We’re optimistic. Since the attention on men’s fashion is up and men are being more conscious of what they wear, and with the economy turning around, it will show this fall.”
WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO GET PEOPLE TO BUY: “We always create a culture around our brand and our shop, and at least two times a month we create some sort of shopping event or special release.”

CITY SOLES
Chicago
Store count: 1 (4,000 sq. ft.); est. 1996
Scott Starbuck, director

HUNTING FOR: “We’re still selling a ton of athleisure sneakers and shoes that can be worn with jeans, so we’re constantly searching for new sport-casual sneakers. We’re also looking for interesting men’s sandals.”
BUYING STRATEGY: “We’ll be buying more because the men’s business is starting to recover and men are shopping again for fashion, not just necessity. We’re buying cautiously, but it’s still more aggressive than in the past few seasons.”
SHOES YOU CAN’T KEEP IN STOCK: “Any Cushe styles, from flip-flops to sneakers to cool shoes to wear with jeans. Spike, a lace-up sneaker that comes in five color combos, is one of the hottest. Also, Oetzi3300’s Low lace-up canvas, as well as its suede slip-ons.”
BEST PRICE POINT: $150
HOTTEST NEW BRANDS: Sendra, P. Monjo
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE BETTING ON: “British brogue styling, wingtips and buck types of shoes are popular and hip, whether with dress clothes or jeans. Also, [we’ll see] the continuation of sports-casual, hipster sneakers and casual, easy slip-ons such as espadrilles.”
SPRING ’12 TREND YOU’RE PASSING ON: “We try to stay away from patterns.”
MOOD AT RETAIL: “Cautiously optimistic.”
WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO GET PEOPLE TO BUY: “We’re very aggressive in social media. We do promotions where we have stuff written on the sidewalk in front of our store. We’re not driving discounts, but we’ll give customers something for that.”

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