Where do we go from here? The last few months of ups and downs will be analyzed and dissected for many years to come. Clearly, they were a brutal wake-up call, as the business we knew, loved and grew accustomed to fell off a cliff.
I won’t spend the extra words on detailing the devastation. You have read — and will continue to read — about the ramifications of the financial meltdown of 2008. Now is the time to accept the harsh reality of our current situation, adjust expectations and fight back with smart business decisions that address the crisis head on.
And while the industry is still digesting the seismic shift at retail, it is time to start searching for a silver lining. There will be new opportunities for those who are positioned to take advantage of them, and who are ready to create businesses that have a future in the new world.
What will be important moving forward? An emphasis on quality, value and a meaningful connection with the customer. In another words, everything that was important before becomes paramount now. It’s do or die.
And we plan to do our part. In this time of great upheaval, Footwear News will move aggressively to deliver the right mix of information you need to make better, more-informed decisions.
Now, more than ever, the industry is looking to this publication to reflect the trials, tribulations, successes and failures of the footwear business. Shoe people are tough, and that patented brand of resilience will be reflected in our pages as we offer readers a front-row seat to all that is happening in the shoe world.
In 2009, we are raising the stakes by dramatically expanding our coverage to include more hard data and unique insight into the rapidly changing marketplace. Here’s how we plan to do it:
Late last month, FN launched a more comprehensive Web strategy that delivers breaking news in real time. Now housed in the content-rich WWD.com site, the FN channel is a powerful showcase designed to complement the print product. We are determined to make the online pages a daily must-read. As the site develops, we plan to offer online-only features that will allow readers to find editorial and fashion coverage that reaches beyond the weekly issue. We’ve only just begun to tap the possibilities. Look for more features to be added over time, including streaming video and blogs, which will offer the footwear community a true one-stop online destination.
We are capitalizing on our position as the only global industry news magazine. With heavy support from a talented team of editors in our London, Milan and Paris bureaus, FN will reach deeper into the retail, product and sourcing issues around the world. We will be there to report on the rapidly changing factory situation in China, the status of the emerging markets and the international fashion coverage that has long been our hallmark.
There is no other publication that offers the kind of access we do. From Manolo Blahnik to Kevin Plank, Tamara Mellon to Herbert Hainer, FN puts the biggest names in the business on record. Over the coming months, you will see a parade of successful designers, retailers and executives sharing their thoughts on the troubled economy, changing shopping habits and product trends.
To put more real data in your hands, FN will unveil a number of new features for 2009. Starting this month, the “What’s Selling” column will look at the top-moving styles at retail in select categories. And our new “Best Practices” page will offer expert solutions to some of the most daunting issues facing retailers and wholesalers today. Other big-picture ideas include an Online Issue that will document the new opportunities — and potential pitfalls — associated with the rise in online sales. We will also unveil the “Hot Button” series, a look at the dramatic changes affecting manufacturing markets all over the world.
This is just a taste of the great things to come. We will continue to push harder to deliver the kind of information that makes everyone’s business stronger and smarter. For more than six decades, FN has been the industry bible. We plan to remain in that position for many decades to come.
We look forward to your thoughts and opinions as we enter a bold new era of footwear coverage.