There’s no bailout for retailers this holiday season.
Despite slashing prices and extending hours, stores appear to be giving in to reality with just two days left before Christmas. The traditional late surge of shopping is nonexistent because of the deepening recession, which is likely to make this season the worst in memory.
Even with schools and many consumers on vacation, merchants are holding out little hope of recouping lost ground.
“It’s really bad,” said Crawford Brock, owner of the luxury Stanley Korshak boutique in Dallas. “Everybody’s discounting, so the margins are terrible and sales are strong double-digit down with no real bright spots. It’s just miserable….I don’t think it will be better until the fourth quarter” of 2009.
Stanley Korshak sells to affluent customers, but this season even the well-off don’t think it’s fashionable to make expensive and multiple purchases. “They are getting each other one gift or maybe a stocking stuffer,” Brock said. “Nobody’s doing the big Christmas. Everybody is terrified.”
That goes for the moderate market, as well.
“Results were disappointing during the critical week before Christmas,” said Keith Fulsher, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of Dress Barn. “The weather [snowstorms during the weekend] has definitely not played in our favor. We continue to focus on managing our inventories. A few highlights however, are our social special occasion dresses, as well as career and casual jackets.”
At the Maurices division of Dress Barn, Lisa Rhodes, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, acknowledged difficult business, though she added that embellished dressy tops and novelty screen tees in sizes 1-24, remain bestsellers in the tough environment.
“We are probably off, but I haven’t looked at the figures — I’d rather not know,” said Connie Sigel, owner of Elements boutique in Dallas. “I have to say this much, I knew this was coming in March — Bear Stearns’ [demise] was a big wake-up call — so I cut back on my buy about 30 percent, so that helped tremendously.”
The economic nosedive has “taken the thrill out of shopping because everybody feels bad for everyone else,” she said. “But most everyone has taken a hit in their portfolios, so everybody feels poor no matter how rich they are.”
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion