Retail Guide: Athletic Shopping List

VAULT, New York
Wayne Olivier, owner
Store count: 1 (1,500 sq. ft.); est. 2006

Hunting for: “We’re looking for casual, low-tech but stylish sneakers.”

Buying strategy: “We’ll be increasing our buy because we’re finding that our customers are purchasing more pairs of affordable, versatile sneakers from a wider variety of brands, so we’re looking to have those for them.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “Both the New Balance 574 and suede Puma Clydes do very well for us.”

Best price point: $80

Hottest new brands: “Pointers, which has trendier casual sneakers.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re betting on: “We’re not seeing any major trends that will affect us. Customers are open to a more diverse range of footwear as long as it’s reasonably priced. Our customers also look to us for unique, limited product.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re passing on: “We don’t really pay much attention to specific footwear trends. Things come and go in this market. We’ll have a limited product, and then the next styles come in.”

Mood at retail: “Retail is still slow. People are willing to spend on limited products, but are reluctant to spend on general releases unless they are on sale.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “Twitter and Instagram drive customer traffic and are helping to building brand loyalty for our store.”

MR. R SPORTS, Miami, Fla
Clyde Edwards, buyer/creative director
Store count: 1 (3,800 sq. ft.); est. 1973

Hunting for: “New technology, different materials and patterns. Our customers still seem to be in love with camouflage print. We’ve also been asked a lot for chambray and denim.”

Buying strategy: “Our buying [for spring] will be up 10 percent to 15 percent. Ever since we broadened our social reach with Twitter, our blog, our website, e-commerce, Facebook, etc., we’ve seen sales increase overall.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: “Every style of Nike Free Run, such as Free Run+ 3 and Free 3.0 V4. Asics works very well for us, too, in styles such as the Kinsei 4, Kayano 18 and Noosa 7.”

Best price point: $100

Hottest new brands: “We’re in the midst of bringing in the Vans California Range and Converse First String, and we’ve managed to breathe new life into our New Balance lifestyle products. Saucony and Asics Classics are also on our radar.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re betting on: “Lightweight is still trending. I see that being around for a while. Also, brands are starting to use more economical approaches to manufacturing.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re passing on: “We stayed away from toning and everyone wanting their toes to be fingers. However, we did do well with Vibram FiveFingers.”

Mood at retail: “The mood is good. People are starting to get back into the swing of things and looking for new and exciting technology.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “Our focus has been on getting the word out. We pride ourselves on our customer relationships, being social, great imagery, etc.”

KICKS SOLE PROVIDER, Los Angeles
Ygal Aiche, co-owner
Store count: 1 (1,100 sq. ft.); est. 2003

Hunting for: “We’re always looking for the next fun collaboration sneaker because it draws in a bigger crowd.”

Buying strategy: “We’ll be buying the same or a bit less, but going deeper with more of the classic styles.”

Shoes you can’t keep in stock: ““We can’t keep the Nike Free styles on our shelves. It’s just an amazing all-around shoe. And all the retro Jordans are insane. The lines for those never end.”

Best price point: $50 to $110

Hottest new brands: “Jordans, Vans and our Kicks Sole Provider private label.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re betting on: “We’re betting our chips on the classic styles.”

Spring ’13 trend you’re passing on: “We’ll be going with fewer high-top sneakers next spring.”

Mood at retail: “Things are getting better. We’re looking forward to a busy fall.”

What you’re doing to get people to buy: “Our YouTube channel has fun reviews, events and lifestyle clips to keep customers involved and up-to-date on our store.”

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