Retail Guide: Children’s Shopping List

SPRONG CHILDREN’S SHOES, Atlanta
Stephanie Teichner, owner
Store count: 1 (1,330 sq. ft.); est. 2005

Hunting for: “Our store is always hunting for a good-fitting, well-made, comfortable ballet flat. Our biggest struggle is that it’s hard to find one ballet flat that fits most feet and will stay on the heel.” 

Buying strategy: “We’re planning to buy the same as last year. Our business this past fall was healthy and we turned our product at a decent rate.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “Tsukihoshi’s Child 20 in navy, which is a machine-washable, Velcro, athletic shoe. Also, Primigi’s Andes, a basic patent-leather Mary Jane style with a rubber bottom. We usually carry this shoe in four or five colors.”

Best price point: $32 to $48

Hottest new brands: “Kai, a casual, comfortable, functional shoe that can be worn for school or other occasions.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re betting on: “We still believe boots will be a strong trend for fall. We’ll have a wide selection of styles and price points.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “The key to getting people to buy is providing good customer service. We also have a strong email base and use Constant Contact to communicate with our customers about new products and any events we do.”

HAGGIS MCBAGGIS, Portland, Ore.
Riki Mclenithan, owner
Store count: 1 (1,200 sq. ft.); est. 1996

Hunting for: “We want to find quality shoes that customers see as a good value, as well as something new. Prints and colors are really in. We also need more fashion sneakers.”

Buying strategy: “We’re upping our buy because we can see a difference in the economy.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “Palladium has just blown up for us. They do shoes and boots, but it’s the Pampa High boot that has been phenomenal. They introduced the kids’ line and it’s super cool.”

Best price point: “What we sell the most of is in the price range of See Kai Run and PediPed, so $40 to $60. We really blow through those so quickly because it’s such a good price point and a nice shoe.”

Hottest new brands: “We have Camper. We [also] love Kickers, a French brand that has a little higher price point, but the quality is unmatched.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re betting on: “We’ll definitely be going with boots again. [Palladium] is offering a waterproof Pampa High that is great for Oregon. We’re betting on that because the price point is really good.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re passing on: “We are over the slipper-for-shoe thing. It’s a very popular trend, but there is no support, no footbed.”

Mood at retail: “People are really ready for spring. The fall was dismal and they are ready for fun, new stuff. So we have an optimistic outlook right now.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “We do a lot of special events and other efforts to involve the community, so everything in the store isn’t just about buying. We try to create value and a connection within the community, and we promote it through Facebook.”

SHOE MARKET KIDS, Cohasset, Mass.
Kathi Yeager, owner
Store count: 1 (4,700 sq. ft.); est. 2003

Hunting for: “Nike. Beyond that, people are definitely looking for basics in their kids’ sneakers and sandals. Our customers want shoes that their kids can use for multiple purposes.”

Buying strategy: “We’ll be buying about the same, except for snow boots because we haven’t had any weather.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “Reebok Zigs, Ugg brand and Merrell’s Jungle Mocs. [Jungle Mocs] are great for public- and private-school kids, and a lot of parents double them as dress shoes for boys.” 

Best price point: $50 for shoes and $50-$90 for boots

Hottest new brands: “Reebok Zigs and Reebok Real Flex. Sperry Top-Sider definitely stepped up in kids this year. Also, in general, boat shoes for girls and boys.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re betting on: “We’re betting on the continuation of fashion boots and ballet flats for girls. For boys, it will still be Merrells and sneakers.”

Fall ’12 trend you’re passing on: “While we won’t be passing on it altogether, girls’ Mary Janes are slowing down. We’ll be buying very little because girls, even as young as preschool and kindergarten, want ballet flats.”

Mood at retail: “Our customers don’t skimp on their kids, but they’re still looking for those basic, multipurpose shoes.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “We recently did a boot drive and donated gently used snow boots. In return, we gave customers $10 off new pairs, just to get them to buy some snow boots. We also have monthly coupons.”

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