Mood Mixed at Bread & Butter

BERLIN — The mild winter and ongoing economic woes in Europe dampened the enthusiasm of retailers at Bread & Butter, held here Jan. 18-20.

“This was a tough winter,” said Petri Herpio, chairman of Helsinki, Finland-based MPH Retail, which carries brands such as Guess, Calvin Klein and Nike. “We were stuck with winter product. It was dark and wet, so people stayed home.”

Regardless of economic and weather concerns, retailers were still on the hunt for fresh product.

“Our customers take shoes seriously and want quality,” said Andreas Feldenkirchen, owner of the Feldenkirchen shops in Hamburg, Germany. “We just started to look into fall, [so] we might add some brands to our portfolio.”

Sophie Bocquet, managing director of Citadium, a French department store that carries footwear brands such as Vans, Puma, Superdry and Converse, said color would play an important role in fall sales. “Rust is the color for this season and 1960s trends are important,” she said. “I also found nature-inspired collections that were new and exciting.”

For Merwin Andrade, owner of Zero Traders in New York, one thing missing from the show was Americans. “Germany has a lot of good brands, but I find it strange and surprising not to see American buyers here on this trip,” he said.

As for trends, boots were once again out in full force. Trends included Chelsea boots in platform, wedge and stiletto heels. Man-tailored women’s shoes were also spotted at Rocket Dog, Chie Mihara, Hilfiger, Vagabond and Superdry.

Chie Mihara sales director José Manuel said his firm is optimistic, despite near-term challenges. “We are off to a good start [for fall ’12], and despite the euro-crisis, we still managed to increase sales last season,” he said.

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