Retailers Upbeat on 2011

NEW YORK — Storeowners are hoping the good times roll again.

Most retailers at FFANY last week were optimistic that the economy’s turnaround would continue, leaving stores on track for a strong spring.

Talal Hassan, GMM of The Tannery in Boston, predicted spring sales would be up double digits compared with 2010. To assist with the boost in sales, Hassan said he is buying aggressively.

“We’re getting out of a double recession,” he said. “We’re open to buy 365 days a year.”

Hassan added that brands on his list for at-once include Hunter, Frye and Sebago. “We’re putting them on the floor now,” he said.

Meanwhile, Isack Fadlon, owner of Los Angeles-based Sportie LA, is banking on the continued success of boots, as well as canvas sneakers. “We’re hopeful because the fall wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be,” he said.

While Fadlon noted that his buying strategy will be more aggressive than last year, it still is not what it was a couple of years ago, “The economy is still pretty tough,” he said.

David Zaken, owner of New York-based David Z, also agreed that he expects spring sales to be slightly up over 2010, with American looks from Minnetonka and Sperry Top-Sider sparking sales.

“There are still new customers to this look,” he said, referring to Minnetonka. “Who gives you a better value for the dollar?”

Other retailers are turning to elegant trends for spring.

“I’m looking at styles that have more feminine silhouettes,” said Michael Cooney, owner of Manchester, Vt.-based Manchester Footwear. “The economy is starting to pick up and women want to start dressing up and looking pretty again.”

Dallas-based store Turtletique is expanding its product mix for the upcoming spring season, adding footwear brands such as Stuart Weitzman and Donald J Pliner to its ready-to-wear offering for the first time in 40 years. “It will push business and add some new clientele,” said owner Barbara Kille, adding that traffic at the shop has been better than last year.

Other retailers are exploring additional options, such as improving customer service and putting a larger focus on the Web to boost sales.

“We’re looking for avenues to increase revenue,” said Robert Yeganeh, owner of Long Island, N.Y.-based Love My Shoes. “With continued vendor support, my hopes are higher.”

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