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Retail Guide: Men’s Shopping List

DNA FOOTWEAR, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Daniel Kahalani, president
Store count: 7 (avg. 1,500 sq. ft.); est. 2004
Where you’re putting your money for spring: “We’re still going to lightweight canvas and a nice variety of good flip-flops. Keds is doing well, and we’ll stay with the Chuck Taylors and Converse.”
Buying strategy: “I’m being careful — cool stuff, but not too out there. We need simple, everyday, casual products a guy can wear for the day and swing at night.”
Biggest challenge: “Getting men to come in and shop.”
View on the economy: “I don’t pay attention to the economy; I pay attention to my business. I just continue to be aggressive and do what I’m doing because when I did pay attention, it affected my view of business and buying.”
Current bestseller: Toms
Hottest new brand: Cushe. “There’s good styling in the brand.”
Best price point: “The magic number for spring and summer is $70.”
Spring ’11 forecast: “I’m hoping [it will be] better, as I’m growing my men’s business. But I will be fine with the same.”
Next big thing: “Bringing [classic looks] back again and giving them a little twist with different materials.”

LEATHER SOUL, Honolulu; Beverly Hills, Calif.
Tom Park, owner
Store count: 2 (avg. 1,000 sq. ft.); est. 2004
Where you’re putting your money for spring: “We’re doing a lot more comfort-based shoes, with softer leathers and more-flexible soles, as well as more unlined shoes guys can wear without socks.”
Buying strategy: “With the two stores, although we’re one business, I’m trying to [make sure] each location has its own identity. In Hawaii, we’ll be a bit more conservative and business-oriented. In Beverly Hills, we’ll do funkier shoes with more colors.”
Biggest challenge: “The lead times in men’s. It’s so hard to try to predict what will be popular.”
View on the economy: “People are buying smarter, and quality is key. People will spend, but they’ll spend on something that is well-made and that will last.”
Current bestseller: Alden
Hottest new brand: George Cleverley. “The second floor of our new Beverly Hills store is dedicated to the brand.”
Best price point: $800 to $900
Spring ’11 forecast: “I see business continuing to grow. People are going to open their wallets a bit more, and it goes back to the point of buying quality. That’s going to be a lasting trend — looking for quality versus fashion.”
Next big thing: “Classics. There’s been a huge movement toward classic Americana looks. We’re seeing it even with the more fashion-oriented brands.”

ALTMAN’S MEN’S SHOES & BOOTS, Chicago
Marty Altman, owner
Store count: 1 (1,000 sq. ft.); est. 1932
Where you’re putting your money for spring: “We’re continuing to focus on offering a broad selection of sizes and widths.”
Buying strategy: “To make sure in the different categories that we have our sizes and widths for the customer.”
Biggest challenge: “Bringing 
customers into the store.”
View on the economy: “Not great at all. People are still out of work and can’t find jobs. [We need] to get people back to work somehow, and until we do, business will be a challenge.”
Current bestsellers: Ecco, Allen Edmonds, 
Mezlan, Clarks
Hottest new brands: “We generally stick with our basic brands that we have carried over the years.”
Best price point: $100 to $350
Spring ’11 forecast: “Very cautious. I don’t think anything is going to transpire until we get people back to work.”
Next big thing: “Styling and comfort incorporated together into men’s shoes.”

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