Compass Buyers Reload for Spring

NEW YORK — Footwear buyers might be shifting their focus to spring ’12, but many are hunting for the styles that sold well this past season.

Wedges, boat shoes and clogs were still at the top of many lists at last week’s Compass show. And the vintage trend continued to resonate.

Here, four retailers weigh in on their best bets for next spring.

John Holden, COO, Benjamin Lovell Shoes, Philadelphia
Hot list: Vintage Shoe Co., Bass
Key trends: “Definitely Americana, classic vintage looks, wedges and color-blocking will drive business. People are trying to simplify a lot of styles and go back to basics.”
Overall forecast: “I’m hoping and planning for a 10 percent sales increase. I don’t think it’s going to be great, but we’re trying to build [business] up slowly again.”

Shahi Hamad, head buyer, Moxsie.com, Fashionstake.com
Hot list: 80%20, Swims, Creative Recreation
Key trends: “We’re seeing a lot of clunky heels, clogs and 1970s-inspired shoes. The androgynous look for women is continuing. We’re not really seeing a new go-to shoe, and a lot of the same trends [from this spring] are continuing. It’s more about updating existing inventory with similar products.”
Overall forecast: Small sales increase. “Luckily, our website is for girls in college who may not be focusing as much on the [economy] as on what they’re wearing.”

Peter Agati, shoe buyer, Paul Stuart, New York
Hot list: Eastland, Florsheim by Duckie Brown
Key trends: “Boat shoes, casual moccasin looks and saddle shoes with that Americana feel are looking good.”
Overall forecast: “Business is on the way back. People are tired of being in the doldrums.”

Steve Silver, owner, Next, Cleveland
Hot list: Timberland Boot Co., Wolverine, Walk-Over
Key trends: “It’s still very much a vintage world out there right now. I don’t see that changing.”
Overall forecast: “We’re having a great year so far, so I hope it carries into the fall.” ­

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