LOS ANGELES--Business on the West Coast maintained its momentum in the second week of the holiday season, with items that sold well in the first week after Thanksgiving continuing their strong showing.
Heavyweight shirts in flannels, acrylics and fleece were big sellers in the young men's area along with hooded tops, said Gary Gladding, executive vice-president of merchandising for Fresno-based Gottschalks.
'The tops business continues to perform well with the highlights in the heavier-weight fabrics, denim and some silks,' and Gladding.
'Jog suits have also been a big seller during the holidays, along with sport coats,' he added. The only real disappointment seems to be in the neckwear category, where Gladding said it's been a struggle to generate business.
'Overall, we're looking for men's to show increases in the high single to low double digits over last year. If the traffic keeps up as it has been so far, we will be happy,' he said.
Wilkes Bashford, owner of the San Francisco-based store of the same name, said holiday buying just keeps rolling along. 'We haven't seen any signs of it slowing down,' he said. 'Sport coats, especially Zegna Soft, continue to sell well, as are cashmere sweaters, which we're almost sold out of,' he said.
Neckwear is doing very well for the holidays, according to Bashford. 'The neckwear business is execellent. We had some late November deliveries that have helped our inventory,' he said.
December business was so good last year that Bashford said he will be happy with a slight increase this year.
Ron Herman, owner of Los Angeles-based Fred Segal, said most of his customers haven't really started to do their holiday shopping yet. 'Our customer doesn't reall shop ahead. We're experiencing good traffic currently, but I wouldn't attribute it to holiday gift shopping,' he said.
Because Fred Segal caters to a largely celebrity clientele, a lot of the holiday business that has been done is over the phone. 'We have customers that call us about their friends and ask us ot pick some items out that we think that they would like for a holiday gift,' said Herman.
Gary Ross, owner of Raffles in Encino, said: 'Our business is steady and we're expecting it to end up over last year, but it will really depend on the weather. It has been so warm-lately that it doesn't really put people in the holiday mood. But people are, however, a lot more positive in their shopping attitudes than last year, price isn't a problem and people do seem to be more confident in their purchases overall.'
Leather and suede jackets, along with flannel, corduroy and plaid shirts, continue to be top sellers. The neckwear business is a little off, according to Ross, but sport shirts and sport coats are performing nicely.
Jerry Rutledge, owner of Colorado Springs-based Rutledge's, is optimistic about holiday business. 'We had a huge 26th anniversity sale at this time last year, so it's going to be hard to beat those numbers, but it looks like we're going to come close,' he said.
Clothing is performing well, especially worsted wool blends and Italian suits. 'Sportswear by Polo has been strong all year and continues to be selling well. Striped dress shirts and Polo neckwear having been selling like crazy,' he noted.