Sole Commerce Buyers Snap Up Boots

NEW YORK — Boots and embellished styles from a variety of brands fueled retail interest at last week’s Sole Commerce show here.

While a few retailers are planning to keep their buying strategy the same as last year, others are adjusting price points and inventory to keep up with the economy. Here, five retailers attending the show weigh in on the brands and trends they forecast will be big fall sellers.

Tiffany Bullock, owner, House of Sole, Chicago
Brands: Corso Como, Chie Mihara, Cydwoq
Trends: Flats, heels of all textures and styles, lace-up boots
Fall buying strategy: “We’re lowering our price point to keep up with the economy. A lot of people have stepped up the game with a lower price point, and I’m extremely excited about fall. We’re adjusting for the economy, [but] without losing our flavor and still maintaining the integrity of the store.”

Joanna McKenzie, buyer, Wear Else, Vancouver, British Columbia
Brands: Stuart Weitzman, Michael by Michael Kors, Cole Haan
Trends: High boots, flats — moccasins and loafer styles — and standard pumps (classic without a big heel)
Fall buying strategy: “We’re going to be cutting down on footwear. We’re just not getting the sell-throughs, so we’re definitely cutting back across the board. The [best-selling] brands will stay level, but we definitely won’t be growing.”

Ceci Hadawar, buyer, If The Shoe Fits, Cape Cod, Mass.
Brands: Apepazza, Poetic Licence, Frye, Audley
Trends: Ballerina flats, non-aggressive and simple gladiators (mostly flats), and boots in ankle or over-the-knee, with fewer of the in-between heights
Fall buying strategy: “I’m going to be buying the same as I’ve always bought, but I’m going stronger into boots. I’m very optimistic at this point because my year-to-date [numbers] are up. I’m being cautious, and if the summer proves to have a marked difference from last summer, we will buy [more].”

Mimi Geier, buyer, Malawi, Flushing, N.Y
Brands: Ugg, Corgi sandals, Argila
Trends: Boots that go with “jeggings” — ankle and over-the-knee lace-ups — and clogs and ballerina flats with embellishments
Fall buying strategy: “We’re buying the way we always bought. We put the look together [with clothing and shoes]. We work with an open-to-buy system and we work with a budget. The system is based on sales, so if they give me a budget, I’m going to spend it.”

Margo Suddeth, owner, Parlor Shoes, Richmond, Va.
Brands: Ash, Cynthia Vincent, Elizabeth & James
Trends: Distressed engineer short boots, platforms and heels, either in basic colors or with over-the-top embellishments such as studs and metals
Fall buying strategy: “I’m going to use more vendors, but with shallow orders. For fall, I’m trying to appeal to every price point. Some people don’t cut their budget on shoes.”

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