By  on October 19, 2011

ATLANTA — Men’s urban retailers shopping The Cobb Show here earlier this week continue to move toward street, skate and activewear trends as they seek ways to keep their businesses afloat.

Retailers attending the show at the Cobb Galleria booked fall and holiday fill-ins and either bought or previewed spring. They were lined up at Parish Nation, Young Jeezy and Akademiks, but other exhibitors got their share, too.

Gary Malik, owner of The Purple Carpet in Miami, said he was buying fall fill-ins on hot sellers this season, including streetwear and skate looks, snapback caps, and T-shirts that hook up with sneakers. He planned to spend about 20 percent of his open-to-buy at the show.

Malik said he booked brands that are hot now, including Parish Nation, Akoo and Sneaktip, as well as new lines for fall, Yums and American Rugby.

Andrew Rhodes, owner of Okuns Shoe Store in Clarksdale, Miss., booked all of his men’s and women’s spring apparel here. “For fashion, you have to stay ahead,” he said. His key brands are Parish Nation, Rocawear, Yums, LRG, Akoo and Young Jeezy. “This is the hot merchandise, but I’m also buying a lot of price-point merchandise if it looks good and goes with the trendy apparel,” he said. He bought jeans, polos, and button-down woven shirts in solid colors and plaids. “The market is moving to more of a skateboard trend and more true-fit jeans,” he said.

Joe Nadav, owner of City Blue, which has 28 units based in Philadelphia, booked mostly immediate and holiday merchandise, and previewed spring. He filled in on fleece and activewear. “That’s what’s selling, and it’s the market direction,” he said.

Yuksel Gurbuz, owner of Trendz in Montgomery, Ala., booked about 80 percent of his fall merchandise, buying mostly urban looks as well as baggy and fitted jeans and shirts. He worked primarily with Parish Nation, LRG and Rocawear.

Business is still difficult, but these retailers said they’re doing OK and finding ways to keep customers coming in. Gurbuz said his business is tough because the name brands are pricey. He’s moving more to non-brand names that have the right look at a lower price point. “A lot of customers don’t ask for the name brand now,” he said. “They just want something nice to wear.”

Rhodes, who has six stores, said he’s expanding and increasing his buy. “We’ll probably open two new stores next year, and we’re getting out of my leases and building our own stores,” he said. “The new stores will be bigger [10,000 square feet versus 6,000 square feet] because we want to do our presentation the right way.” He said he’s seeing a small increase in sales this year over 2010, and is looking for a good holiday season.

Malik said his business is “decent,” and he is increasing his spring buy a little as sales have improved as the weather has gotten colder.

“I hope Christmas will be good, but people are nervous about spending,” Nadav said.

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