Men's specialty stores hot on sweaters and leathers
CHICAGO (FNS)--Men's specialty store executives were shopping the Chicago Mensweasr Collective with clean inventories and plans to spend as much as, if not more than, in past years.
The store owners browsing through the booth show at the Apparel Center were optimistic coming off a good holiday season and were particularly interested in sweaters and outerwear. Complicated-design sweaters, like those offered by Coogi but at lower prices, and new or additional leather outerwear resources were on many retailers' shopping lists.
The booth style of the show and the quality of the resources exhibiting also drew praise from several retailers.
The four-day show closed Tuesday.
Edwin T. Mosher, president, Mosher's Ltd., San Jose, Calif., is changing his buying patterns to place order closer to the season and was looking for manufacturers willing to work on those terms. 'I'm going to buy close to the vest. I may miss a top color, but I'll be healthier financially and I'll have control of my inventory,' he said.
He was buying merchandise for spring and looking at fall lines but not placing orders. Baseball caps and T-shirts from Old School Clothing Co. and Duck Hat were on Mosher's list for spring.
He was also filling in accessories such as spring belts from Cantebury and looking at dress and sport shirts.
Commented Robert Campbell, Robert Campbell Clothing, Stillwater, Okla.: 'I like the booth show format. You can see things better and it saves time. The show has become a lot more important to me.'
Fellow Oklahoman Gary Hulse, Gary Hulse Clothing, Enid, agreed. 'In the last three years, there has been an noticeable improvement in the quality of the vendors here.'
Campbell's open-to-buy was about the same as last year's. 'I'm buying closer to the season in sportswear but buying clothing and outerwear for fall.'
The two retailers were looking at high-performance, wrinkle-resistant products in slacks, shirts and suits, but Campbell was somewhat cautious. 'We sold performance pants well during the holidays but haven't had the returning-customer requests that might have been expected.'
Campbell was enthusiastic about sportswear with an English look in hunter green, burgundy, navy and classic plaids and tartans, particularly from Ricken.
Hulse noted he is going back to branded sportswear from such resources as Nautica, Ruff Hewn and Kenneth Gordon. 'The consumer recognizes the brands, and it's difficult finding dependable, legitimate private-label merchandise that is as good as the samples. The brands are also being more price-sensitive, not pricing in the stratosphere.'
Hulse open-to-buy was about the same as last year's, but he planned to commit less for third quarter, 'saving the dollars for fourth-quarter delivery.'
Kenneth Cotlar, of J. Covitch & Son, Ebensburg, Pa., was at the show for the first time but already planned to come back. 'It's a nice collection and good representation of vendors. The booths make it easy to get a feel for what is happening.'
Cotlar was buying sweaters from Tundra, 'a Coogi look without the price,' and looking for new outerwear resources, especially in leather. 'I found quite a few.'
J. Porter Castleberry of Stock's, Cincinnati, liked a new line of regular sportswear from Ashworth, a golfwear manufacturer. He also liked Ricken sportswear. 'I'll be spending a little more this year. Christmas was very good and we have enough cash to do what we want. Inventories are clean, though we had to discount pretty deep,' Castleberry said.
Pat Burns, Continental Clothing, Galesburg, Ill., 'bought more outerwear because inventories are clean with this cold weather.' Longer and full-length leathers and long wool coats were on his list.
Burns also was looking for sweaters. 'The golf category is still prevalent with us, and I'm looking for the Coogi look but not the Coogi price. I'm probably buying a little more this year.'